Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day comes Crispy Smashers, AKA Irish Road Kill — the best potato dish on the planet.
Yeah, I went there.
Every woman I have given this recipe to has called me later and said something like this: “My husband wants ONLY this kind of potatoes now. And he wants me to make it every single night. I want to go on record that I officially hate you.”
How’s THAT for flattery!
Crispy Smashers is a simple potato dish that is better than a latke, right up there with a great French fry, and something that will have your family scampering to the table when they hear what’s on the menu.
They are unbelievably good, easier than any other potato you can think of, and they go with everything. As with all simple dishes, it helps to use high quality ingredients – fresh potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and crunchy coarse sea salt.
In deciding what to name them, I thought being literal was good — they are crispy, and they are smashed. So, uh, Crispy Smashers. But one of the readers of my newspaper column said his family had renamed them “Irish Road Kill.” Love it!
Writing out the directions to this recipe might make it seem overly fussy or complicated, but the opposite is true. This is so simple that after you make it once, you won’t have to refer to the recipe ever again. Not ever! It will be etched into your memory. I added explanatory detail because after 25 or 30 times making them, I think I have it down to a science – how to dirty the least amount of cookware, pare it down to its essential ingredients, and make it foolproof.
Sure, if you like washing pots, you may certainly boil the potatoes to get them cooked and ready to smash. Me? One less pot is considered genius.
My husband and kids are members of the club who would like to eat these every single night. How about your family?
Here’s a quick visual tutorial:
Crispy Smashers (aka Irish Road Kill)
This is more a method than a strict recipe. Don’t crowd the pan – let each potato have its space to stretch out.
- 1 to 2 medium-size red skinned potatoes for each person you are serving
- Olive oil
- Sea salt (or kosher salt, or seasoned salt)
- Freshly ground pepper
Turn oven on to 425 degrees; position a rack in the middle of the oven.
Wash and dry potatoes, and with a knife, make a small slit in the top of each (so they won’t explode with cooking). Place them on a paper plate, and microwave on high, about 7 minutes per pound. They will be soft.
Meanwhile, lightly film a low-sided baking sheet or baking pan with oil. (Recommendation: use the bottom of the utilitarian metal broiler pan that came with your oven, as long as it is big enough to fit all your potatoes.)
Remove potatoes from microwave oven and arrange them in the baking pan, with a couple of inches to spare between each potato (enough space for potato to spread out). One by one, squish each potato flat, to about 1/2 inch thick. I do this by placing the same paper plate on each potato, one at a time, and pushing hard with the heel of my hand; then discard the plate when all are squished flat. Or use a potato masher and push down hard once on each potato. The skin will break and the soft potato will spread out yet will remain one piece.
Drizzle olive oil on each potato (2-3 teaspoons per potato, depending on how heavy your hand is) and sprinkle each with a pinch of salt and a grinding of fresh pepper.
Bake about 30 minutes, until they are browned and crispy.
Remove from oven and serve.
Make ahead note: Although it is unlikely you will have leftovers (no one can seem to leave any remaining in the pan), you can make these a day ahead of time. Simply reheat in the microwave or the oven. They won’t be as crispy the second day, but they will be just as delicious.
A Shockingly Delicious fan in Malibu, Calif. (hello Anne!) reports making these into “smashed potato skinish things” by adding bacon and green onions and cheese. Sounds like dinner to me!