Counter Intelligence: You say mashed, I say roasted
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With most holiday menus featuring the beloved potato, the question arises: How to prepare them -- mashed? smashed? whipped? baked?
Mashed, smashed, whipped -- sort of one and the same: Peel, boil and beat them with lots of butter and heavy cream. Season them and keep them hot until the main dish is ready. Scrub the starchy mess off of the stove before it clings like glue.
Timing here is of the essence, and when the kitchen is humming at high speed, who wants to bother with such a high-maintenance dish? And what about drowning a beautiful fresh vegetable in a sea of butter and cream?
So, how about roasting them instead? Scrub them and cut them in half, keeping the nutritious skins on. Toss them with flavorful olive oil and sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper. Then turn them out, cut sides down, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Roast them in a hot oven until they are just tender.
You can do this early in the day. The potatoes can reheat after the turkey or the roast comes out of the oven.
This is when you hit them with your preferred seasonings -- fresh chopped garlic? a spritz of lemon juice? some minced herbs? The choice is yours. Then pop them back into the oven to infuse the crispy potatoes and heat them to perfection. Serve them from a pretty dish and you have a crowd-pleasing potato that maintains its integrity. No peeling required.
Roasted potato tips
Golden Roasted Potatoes
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
2 pounds small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
1 sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Additional optional seasonings:
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
HEAT oven to 450°. Toss potatoes with oil, salt and pepper in medium bowl to coat.
TRANSFER potatoes to parchment-lined baking sheet (to fit in single layer), turning them cut sides down. Roast 20 to 30 minutes, until golden on underside.
REMOVE baking sheet from oven. Add garlic and rosemary or lemon and parsley to potatoes and toss. Just before serving, roast potatoes about 10 minutes longer until they are just tender.
April Hamilton has always said, "Cooking is fun!" She shares her easy, practical recipes for delicious food through her cooking classes for kids and families. April's husband and three daughters help with testing and tasting in their Charleston kitchen. April would love to hear from you: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.