Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Potato Smashers

As I've stated in a previous post, potatoes are not a huge favorite of mine, however, there is one dish I make that is a favorite. My husband calls them Smashers. There is no hard and fast recipe, it's more of a formula. So here's last night's version using the first fresh picked Piracicaba broccoli from the garden.


1 pound potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
1/2 pound sprouting broccoli, or rapini, kale, mustard greens, etc.
2 tablespoons fat of your choice (olive oil, butter, duck fat)
1 large shallot, minced, or chopped onion, scallions, garlic, leeks, etc.
1 hot chile, sliced thin, or chile pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
creme fraiche or sour cream

Wash but don't peel the potatoes. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with water, add salt to taste, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes until tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, steam the broccoli until tender. When I use bitter greens I usually blanch them in boiling salted water which reduces the bitterness. Shock the hot greens in ice water to stop the cooking and retain the color. Drain, pat dry or spin in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Chop and set aside.

When the potatoes are done, heat the fat of your choice in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the allium of your choice and the chile if using, saute until softened and translucent. Drain the potatoes and add them to the saute pan. Turn the heat down, gently smash the potatoes with a potato masher and then break them up a bit with a wooden spatula or spoon while stirring them gently into the allium mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chopped greens and gently stir them in. Add a few tablespoons, or more to taste, of creme fraiche or sour cream. Stir gently until just heated through, the mixture will smooth out a bit but should still be quite chunky, don't over stir. Serve warm.

This dish makes a nice side dish or a light main course. Sometimes I chop up bacon and start with that instead of olive oil, or what ever. Sometimes I'll stir in some shredded duck confit, or left over diced meat. Smoked trout or salmon is also good. Roasted brussels sprouts are a great addition also. Basically, anything that you like to eat with potatoes is a great addition. Of course, the more fat you use the more tasty it is, but I usually try to keep it on the lighter side.

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