I had a totally awesome potato dish at a restaurant in Franklin, Tennessee this past spring. The potatoes were boiled and smashed, then fried to a perfect crispy texture with a chimichurri sauce drizzled on them. I kept telling myself I would try to recreate the dish at home, and I finally got a pocket of time a couple of weeks ago. To add just a bit of oomph, I did what my grandmother used to do to her fried potatoes while I was growing up, which was to coat them in cornmeal. They may not be all that pretty, but they are simple and delicious.
Here are my notes:
--Be careful when smashing them that you don't smash them too much. They will break apart and they need to stay together.
--Do NOT overcrowd the skillet. They will brown much faster if they are not overcrowded.
--Measurements are approximate. There is no exact science here, just a little method.
--Yes, a variety of sauces and toppings would work on these. Chimichurri, salsa, etc. would all be good drizzled on top. I just left mine crispy and plain the day I cooked them. A dollop of sour cream and bacon bits would definitely not be awful.
--There might be some cornmeal build up in the skillet that will burn after a couple of fryings, so watch it and scrape it out and add new oil as needed.
--I used a bag of very small, round, yellow skinned potatoes, but red would work too.
Cornmeal Dusted Crispy Smashed Potatoes
1 pound very small yellow or red new potatoes (or however many you want)
1/2 cup butter, melted
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Yellow cornmeal (not cornmeal mix)
Vegetable oil for frying
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Cook over medium high heat until fork tender. Remove from water and place the potatoes on a baking sheet. With a flat bottom glass or cup, gently smash the potatoes to flatten, being careful not to flatten too much or they will break apart. Let them cool for about 15 minutes. Spray the bottom of the glass with nonstick cooking spray if it starts to stick.
Brush the potatoes with melted butter, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Turn over and repeat on other sides.
Pour oil to depth of about 1/4 inch in a large cast iron skillet. Heat over medium-high until very hot. Place 5-6 potatoes a time in the hot oil, being very careful not to crowd them. Cook until golden brown and crispy, turning once. Set aside on a baking rack that has been placed over a baking sheet to drain oil.