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.
Tricks to the perfect smash
The kind of potato makes a difference when it comes to texture. Depending on the type, the fries might be a little more creamy (waxy and new potatoes) or more fluffy (banana fingerlings, blue or purple potatoes).
Use a fork to smash, instead of something flat. A fork will give the potatoes a more textured surface — ridges and valleys — and those little crispy bits.
Where French fries are typically fried twice — once at a lower temperature to blanch, then again at a higher temp to crisp — smashed fries are boiled first and fried only once.
You can boil the potatoes up to a few days in advance, then refrigerate them until you’re ready to fry.
A neutral oil — canola, vegetable or peanut — works just fine for frying, bringing out the rich flavor of the potatoes themselves. But feel free to be inventive. Lard is magical, and bacon fat is downright divine. And if you can find duck fat, I promise you’ll never want to fry in any other fat again.
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 to 8
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.
2 pounds fingerling or very small new potatoes
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt, plus more for seasoning
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
Place 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.
Drain 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.)
Using 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.