Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bacon Fat Fried Smashed New Potatoes

   I claim no responsibility for this absolutely brilliant idea.  I saw this technique a couple weeks ago on The Chubby Vegetarian right after I had proclaimed my undying love for potatoes.  It was too enticing not to try.  Not to mention it involved the type of frying that I am totally comfortable with.  This frying involves no breading or batter, no meat, and not attempting to cook a dense item all the way through.  Basically you are just crisping up the outside.

   I made them to go with turkey burgers.  I think they would be the most satisfying with a huge portobello burger, personally.  They are a fantastic alternative to fries, because lets face, most of can't make decent fries at home.  Oven roasted potatoes are wonderful... but, they are not fried and the crispy, fried outer texture is just what you need sometimes.  I did a totally optional thing with my potatoes... bacon fat.  We had cooked bacon that day for something so I poured the 2 Tbsp or so of bacon fat that was left into the frying oil.  Jesus, my mouth is watering right now.  Obviously this makes it not vegan/vegetarian but it is so unbelievably good!  I would cook bacon just to have the leftover fat to make these.
Fried Smashed New Potatoes
2 lbs baby new potatoes (the very small variety)
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
vegetable oil
2 Tbsp rendered bacon fat

   Thoroughly clean potatoes. If needed cut the large ones in half so all potatoes are roughly the same size.  Bake at 350 deg F for about 45 minutes, until a knife easily inserts into potato without resistance.  Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes (Or longer.  Ths step and the smashing step could definitely be done ahead of time.  Just make sure to bring potatoes to room temp before frying.)
   Use a wide flat metal spatula or your knife blade to smash potatoes.  Place flat on potato and use the palm of your hand to apply even pressure to potato.  (Wiggling it a little as you smash helps, I found.)  Your potatoes should look like this:
   In a heavy bottomed pot or deep skillet (I prefer cast iron), add oil to a depth of 3/4 inches.  Add bacon fat.  Heat over medium/med-high heat until bubbles rise rapidly from the end of a toothpick when dipped in the oil.  Place potatoes in oil, do not crowd the pan.  Fry for 3-4 minutes per side until crispy.  Drain on paper towels and immediately salt and pepper. 
   To keep potatoes warm while the rest are frying, place on a baking rack on a sheet tray in a 250 deg F oven.
   Serve with your favorite potato dipping sauce.
   Serves 4.

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