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Appetizers, Vegetarian

Smashed fries

Smashed fries
Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Take everything you love about a French fry -- that crisp, golden-brown crust enveloping an oh, so fluffy interior -- and flatten it. In fact, go ahead and smash it. Lately, I've been frying up smashed potatoes, and they're everything ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 6 to 8
  • 2 pounds fingerling or very small new potatoes
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Step 1Place the potatoes, water and salt in a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until they are just tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Step 2Drain the potatoes and set aside until cool enough to handle. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to three days in advance; refrigerate the potatoes until needed, then continue with the recipe.)

Step 3Using a fork, gently smash the potatoes. The thicker the smashed potatoes, the fluffier the fries; conversely, the flatter the potatoes, the more crisp the fries. Set the smashed potatoes aside while you heat the oil.

Step 4Fill a heavy-bottom deep saute pan with oil so the oil comes up the sides of the pan by one-half inch. Heat the oil to a temperature of 350 degrees; the oil will shimmer in the pan.

Step 5Fry the potatoes in the oil until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes, careful not to crowd the potatoes (fry a single layer of potatoes at a time; this will need to be done in batches). Drain the potatoes on a rack until all of the potatoes are fried.

Step 6Season the smashed fries with additional salt to taste, and serve immediately.

Note: For additional flavor, substitute duck fat, lard or bacon fat for the frying oil. Duck fat is available at select gourmet and cooking stores, as well as online.

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