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I posted a photo on other social media that included a reference to Crash Potatoes, and was inundated with requests for the recipe.  By popular demand, here you go:

Feeding a houseful of seven while keeping the grocery budget less than the national deficit can be challenging.  To keep the kids on their toes and eating a good assortment of vegetables requires some creativity – and THANK GOD for Google to help me with that!  Always on the search for new and interesting ways to dress up the plain old white potato, I made these as a side dish with our dinner.  Inspired by a recipe posted back in 2008 by Ree over at Pioneer Woman, I made a few modifications based on what I had on hand at the moment.

 

 

Ingredients:

Plain Russet potatoes
*For even cooking, ensure your potatoes are all about the same size
Good olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cheese (optional)
Fresh or Dried Herbs (optional)
Season Salt (optional)

The great part about this recipe is that by starting with potatoes, it allows for an infinite number of variations.  It’s easy, very little work, and delicious.

At A Glance Instructions (See below for more detail and/or tips): 

1) Rinse potatoes and place them into a large pot. Cover with water and bring to boil, continuing to cook until tender when pierced with a fork.
2) Remove potatoes from water and, using a potato masher, lightly press downward until the potato has smashed a bit and broken open.
3) Generously drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a large cookie sheet.
4) Place smashed potatoes on cookie sheet, then drizzle the tops generously with more olive oil.
5) Sprinkle with your choice of seasonings, herbs (fresh or dried), and/or spices.
6) Cook for approximately 20 minutes in a 450-degree oven, until tops are crispy and golden brown.

Details, Comments, Tips, Tricks: 

POTATOES:
*After rinsing to remove residual dirt, they’ll need to go into a pot large enough for you to completely cover them with water.
* Depending on how many you’re cooking, I’d start checking them at about 15 minutes into the boil.  When you pierce them, you should get enough resistance to feel the fork “pop” through the skin, and then press easily deep into the flesh.  Remove the potato from the water as soon as you feel that, to avoid cooking it to mush.  If your potatoes aren’t the same size, you’ll have to remove the smaller ones earlier, and set them aside while the larger ones continue to cook.

SALT:
*This is a matter of personal preference, but for me, nothing beats sea salt. I get large containers of both coarse and fine grain Mediterranean Sea Salt at World Market for around $4 each.  Kosher salt imparts a wonderful saltiness too, and both coarse grain sea salt and Kosher salt stick to the potato and the skin.  The result in your mouth is the extra texture added by the large grain salt, and the flavor of either can’t be beat.

OLIVE OIL:
*The better quality your olive oil, the better your finished product will taste.  Extra Virgin is of course best, however others will do.  I get mine at a bulk discount store, a gallon for about $11 – it CAN be done on a budget!
*Don’t be shy with how much you drizzle on the cookie sheet – this is to keep the potatoes from sticking, so more is better.

OPTIONAL ITEMS:
*This time, I used olive oil, sea salt, a generous sprinkling of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning, fresh ground black pepper, and a sprinkling of dried basil.  After they were done, I lightly sprinkled them with shredded cheddar cheese and placed the pan back in the (now turned off) oven.  The residual heat melted the cheese without risking burning or over-cooking them, while I plated up the herbed pork tenderloin steaks and sweet corn and got that on the table.

*Red potatoes would work well with salt, pepper, dried rosemary and thyme, and a light sprinkle of fresh parmesan.

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