Since we've seen snow twice this week in New York (and might be seeing more by week's end!), I feel I can comfortably talk about Christmas. For the past five years or so, our Christmas Eve tradition has been to begin the day with breakfast at Balthazar in Soho, meander around the city--through streets, stores, galleries, even churches--and slowly make our way back home for dinner, which everyone has a hand in preparing. This past year, Max decided to make Smashed Potatoes with Smoked Salmon as an appetizer (a homage to my dad who always kicked off our Slovakian Christmas Eve dinner fest with his famous fried potato pancakes). The dish was a big success. And while Max, like his grandfather, fried his potatoes, I prefer to make them in the oven. It's simpler, less messy, and they're just as delicious. I've served them as a side dish (without the salmon and toppings), as well, and they're equally as scrumptious. If you go the smoked-salmon route, top the potatoes with salmon, creme fraîche, chopped chives and freshly ground black pepper. We had ours with a glass of bubbly, which I highly recommend at any time of year!
- 1 pound mix of new potatoes. (I've also used my favorite, fingerlings.)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until they are fork tender. When done, remove potatoes from water and place on a towel to absorb water.
- Coat sheet pan with about half of the olive oil. Place potatoes on pan, leaving ample room between each one.
- With potato masher or spatula, flatten each potato gently. Turn masher/spatula 90 degrees, and mash again. Brush each potato with remaining olive oil and add salt, pepper and rosemary.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. If they're not browned enough, place under the broiler for a minute--but keep an eye on them, so they don't burn.
- Remove from oven and serve. If using smoked salmon, add now with toppings.