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Smashed roasted fingerling potatoes are topped with garlic and herbs and roasted to golden brown perfection.
I consider the potato to be the Daniel Day-Lewis of the food world. Boiled, mashed, diced, fried, shredded or baked, the potato can transform into the star of the meal or act as a scene-stealing costar. Super versatile, it can adapt to any season, meal or occasion with ease. And while maybe a potato can’t pull off a believable Abraham Lincoln, few things are more American than a salty fry dunked in ketchup.
At the Thanksgiving table the turkey usually takes centerstage, but my favorite part is a scoop of perfectly whipped potatoes cradling just the right amount of gravy in its little nest. A potato can thicken a soup, be a vessel for sour cream and chives or be served in a creamy salad that no summer picnic can do without. And is there anything better on the breakfast table than a crunchy hashbrown or crispy homefries nestled next to your bacon and eggs?
Growing up, our local grocery store offered two, maybe three types of potatoes. Now many stores have entire sections devoted to the wide variety of spuds now available…white, yellow, purple, waxy, creamy, large, tiny, the list goes on and on. One of my favorites is the fingerling, aptly named, for well, you guessed it, its oblong, finger-like shape. Fingerlings are delicious pan-fried or roasted and I particularly love them smashed and crisped up on the outside, but still buttery and creamy in the center.
My smashed, roasted fingerlings require a two-step cooking process, but are so worth the extra step. They are par-boiled, smashed, then doused with a healthy splash of olive oil and topped with herbs and garlic before roasting until browned perfection. The beauty of this preparation is you can make these suckers right up until their final trip to the oven well in advance of serving, making them a perfect side for a dinner party. In fact, I boil, smash, douse, season, and then cover the whole sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until about 30 minutes or so before mealtime. Then pop them in the oven and watch the magic happen.
And want to really wow your guests? Stack those babies up, dollop with creme fraiche and scrape up the bits of roasted herbs and garlic to sprinkle over the top. No one will know you’ve had plenty of time to relax with a glass (or two) of wine before presenting this crowd-pleaser to your guests.
- 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, washed but not peeled
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 sprigs of thyme
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Creme fraiche for serving (optional)
Cover potatoes with water in a large pot and add 2 tsps. of salt to water.
Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Cook until potatoes are softened, but not fully cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Drain and place potatoes on a parchment lined sheet pan and allow to cool slightly.
Press down on potatoes with a flat spatula or flat-bottomed sauce pan until flattened, but still intact.
Scatter garlic and thyme evenly over potatoes and drizzle with olive oil.
Season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast in a 450 degree oven for 20-30-minutes until golden brown and crispy or until desired doneness.
To serve, dollop with creme fraiche and sprinkle with roasted bits of garlic and herbs.
Can be made through step 7, covered tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for several hours before roasting.