August 29, 2006

Herby Smashed Potatoes

My mother-in-law will be proud to hear that she inspired this simple recipe. There was a time when a common side dish with dinner at my in-laws house was potato chunks boiled and then tossed in a bowl with butter, salt, and pepper (aka, boiled potatoes). And I liked 'em. Heck, that’s pretty much all I need to make me happy: properly cooked potatoes and lots of butter.

My wife, however, having grown up eaten these very potatoes on what, as she explains, was a fairly regular basis, is not so enamored with this home-cookin’ treat. When I would suggest it as an easy side for a meal that sort of needed a side dish if it was going to actually qualify as a meal, she would always say: “No, I’m sick of that.”

So, the other day, I put together a rub for some center-cut pork chops and cut up some garden veggies and other stuff (capers, olives, etc) for a salsa to put on top of them [future recipe, I promise]. Even though they were big chops, we needed something else.

On the shelf, sidled up to some PA Simply Sweet™ onions, I spied a small container of “new” potatoes from our CSA. I knew if I didn't use them at that very moment, they would be doomed to the garbage can. I could not let that happen (part of my Potatatic Oath: "I promise to respect the spud, not to cover it with fake bacon bits or processed cheese, but to treat it gently, with the same courtesy as a main dish..."). So this is what I did…

  • 5 to 8 medium-sized new potatoes, quartered (skin on, Nancy)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped sage
  • 2 tablespoon of snipped chives
  • ½ stick of butter (plus a little more for later)
  • ¼ cup of cream, half-half, or whole milk (plus a little more for later)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in a pot of water until they are fork-tender. Strain and put in a big bowl, add the herbs, 1/2 stick of butter, 1/4 cup of cream, salt and pepper.

Take a fork (a big salad fork works well) and mash the ingredients of the bowl together. These aren’t “mashed” potatoes, however, so just mash and mix until everything is incorporated, but still a little chunky. Then taste and adjust ingredients as you see fit.

We don’t have potatoes that often, so we really enjoyed these and they worked well with the pork chops. I have a feeling these will make it back onto the dinner plates in our house fairly soon.


Jo-Ann said...

I'm a big fan of a little horseradish in the potatoes. Wonder if that would work with the sage?

Fillippelli the Cook said...

I don't know, but that might not be a bad idea. I doubt it would be bad.