Easy smashed lemony potatoes, roasted in the oven until crispy, and served with fresh burrata cheese and basil pesto. The pleasure of simple flavors.
Whether you served them as a starter, as a main or a side dish, these crispy potatoes are very satisfying and oh so good! Also, you can’t really go wrong with this recipe, which is easy to adapt as it pleases you, using different toppings of your choice. Served with Burrata cheese and basil pesto, it becomes a lovely sophisticated – yet comfort – dish. For extra taste, I sometimes add prosciutto as well.
Believe it or not but usually I am not a big potato fan. Somehow, I find them way overrated, which they are if you think of all the junk-food fries in every single restaurant or fast food. Served this way, they do not bring me any satisfaction and I prefer skipping them right away and go for any other side dish instead. Fries are indeed most of the time tasteless, prepared with low quality oil and far too salty.
However, I like the taste of homemade prepared potatoes, when consumed occasionally. Then it is a completely different story. A couple of months ago I shared a Garlic Herb Potato Wedges recipe, that is a beautiful and easy homemade version of potato wedges, seasoned with good stuff only such as olive oil, herbs and minced garlic (no garlic powder), and prepared in the oven rather than fried in a bath of oil. If you haven’t tried them yet, I highly recommend!
And today I am back with a completely different potato recipe, except that once again, they are baked in the oven. Well, not exactly. For this recipe I use small potatoes and cook/bake them twice: first in a huge pot filled with water, and then in the oven. Once they are cooked until fork tender, simply lay them down in a prepared baking sheet and smash them with a glass or whatever you can use with a flat bottom. This is the fun part: smashing the potatoes! It gives them a rustic, unfinished aspect that I love.
Important detail: always keep the skins on! If using organic potatoes from a farm that happen to have dirty skins, make sure you wash them well before cooking them in water, but don’t peel them of. The skin will help bringing the crispy texture we are looking for. Once the potatoes are smashed and laid down in the baking sheet, it’s time to season them, starting with a generous drizzle of olive oil (note that the quantity I recommend in the recipe is note to be followed exactly but is rather an indication; feel free to adjust as needed).
At this point, season with flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and sprinkled some minced garlic over. To make the potatoes “lemony”, I proceed in two steps: first I grate the lemon zest over the potatoes, and then I cut the lemon in wedges and lay them down in the prepared sheet along with the potatoes. Once potatoes are baked and crispy, squeeze the roasted lemon wedges over the potatoes in order to add more fresh and juicy flavor.
At this stage, simply remove the potatoes from the oven and while still warm, plate them with the chosen toppings. I am completely obsessed with Burrata cheese lately, so I simply sprinkled some pieces over, and added some ready-to-use basil pesto. Easy-peasy! The possibilities for toppings are endless though, and you could imagine sprinkled feta cheese with black olives for instance, or serve your crispy smashed potatoes with sour cream, cooked bacon and chopped green onions, or why not with roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and capers. Make this dish yours, have fun and adapt the recipe as many times as you want. No more talking, see now how easy the recipe is. Enjoy with a glass of red wine.
- 2 lbs (1 kg) small Yukon gold potatoes (or similar, about the size of golf balls), approx. 15 pieces
- Flaky Sea Salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 1 lemon, cut into segments
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup (80g) basil pesto
- 1 large (8 oz/225g) burrata cheese
- Fresh ground pepper, to serve
- Add potatoes to a saucepan with cold water. Salt generously and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook just until fork tender. Drain potatoes into a colander and set over empty warm pot to fully dry.
- Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay potatoes on the prepared baking sheet, and using the bottom of a glass, gently but firmly smash down each potato, being careful not to fully mash them.
- Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme sprigs, sprinkle minced garlic, and grate lemon over the potatoes. Add the lemon wedges to the baking sheet together with the potatoes.
- Bake, turning with a spatula at 20 minutes and baking for another 20-30 minutes until edges are a beautiful golden brown.
- Plate potatoes from the oven while still warm, squeezing the lemon wedges over, and top with pieces of Burrata cheese. Drizzle with basil pesto, sprinkle fresh ground pepper, and serve immediately.