A couple of weeks ago I saw this Kraft recipe for smashed potatoes that were more or less still whole potatoes, as opposed to mashed, but fried. I liked the idea, but not the suggested recipe, because I don’t like a lot of the icky ingredients in the dressing in which they wanted me to fry the potatoes.
So I decided to use their initial methodology for prepping the potatoes and then do my own thing from there.
In advance of this, I reserved the fat from a couple breakfasts’ worth of bacon. My general bacon-and-eggs methodology (which I’ve done a lot, having been the victim of ultra-low-carb diets in relation to my infertility issues) is to fry up half a pack of bacon, then drain the bacon on paper towels, pour the fat into a dish, and fry the eggs on the remaining fond/drippings of the bacon. Usually I discard the fat properly (in the TRASH, people, not down the sink!), but occasionally I put it in the fridge to use for other purposes. This is one of them.
As per the original recipe, I put my small potatoes (6 Yukon golds) in a microwave dish with 1/2 cup of water. Having done similar things before, however, I already strayed and did them for five minutes on high, then turned them over with a spoon, then another five minutes on high. Usually I prick potatoes, but that’s when doing larger ones, so I didn’t bother with that this time.
Meanwhile, I grated about this much sharp cheddar cheese*:
Once the potatoes were cooked, I let them stand for a few minutes to cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, I got some bacon and eggs ready to cook so I could time the bacon to start the same time as frying the potatoes.
When they were no longer rocket-hot, I flattened the potatoes one at a time between two small cutting boards, just enough to create an even surface area on both sides without squishing it so far as to be impossible to pick up in one piece:
I put roughly three tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat in a pan and warmed it up. I started the bacon cooking in another pan (which turned out to be slightly too soon, but close enough) and put the potatoes in the pan with the reserved fat as it heated up. I considered adding other seasonings at this time, but decided to see how this would turn out on its own. Later, I decided that I should have tossed some kosher salt on the potatoes during this phase. That’s what I’ll do in the future.
I cooked them on about 4 on the gas stove, which is on the low end of medium. I’ve learned the hard way that anything hotter makes bacon fat spit out of the pan at you and it always lands somewhere painful. It’s mean like that.
I didn’t monitor the cooking time, but about the point where it was time to turn the bacon, these were getting brown on the first side. I let them brown a little longer, then flipped them so they looked like this:
I then evenly distributed the cheese over the tops. Again, a dash of kosher salt before doing that would have been perfect.
I let them cook until the other sides were brown (which meant the bacon and eggs were done a little too soon so next time I’ll leave those later since the potatoes can sit happily in the warm pan while eggs that wait turn into inedible rubber pretty fast). Then I put two on my plate and ate ’em with my bacon and eggs.
I gave one to my daughter but she’s not a fan of potatoes so she tried to eat the cheese and the potato skin without eating any of the white stuff. What-evs. These were yummy, but needed a bit more salt earlier, and six is far too many for one person. Next time I’ll do three for myself. If you like paprika and that sort of thing, this would probably work well with such spices.
Nom nom TragicCheeseFTW nom.
* A side story about this cheese: it is Kirkland’s big block of sharp cheddar from Costco. It’s huge and costs around five bucks. Last year when kiddo asked for Lunchables, I showed her how much food she’d get for six dollars for a multipack of Lunchables versus this huge chunk’o’cheese for less money. She was only four but she knew six is more than five and that a giant block of cheese is more food than tiny rectangles of cheese plus tiny amounts of meat and crackers. I also taught her about wasteful packaging and as this was happening during the BP spill, which she’d heard about, I laid on the eco-talk thicker than oil on a turtle shell. Result: even though insidious marketing still occasionally penetrates my Mama Walls of Ultra-Media-Defense, and even though part of her still desires these forbidden “treats”, she does understand that sometimes companies try to trick her into wasting her money and being wasteful upon the planet. So even though the Kirkland cheese is orange and we used to always go for white, my kid now prefers this cheese over processed “tricky foods” as she calls them, so I’ll take the orange colour and call it an overall win. When your kid thinks the ultimate weekend lunch is fresh fruit plus a chunk of cheese, that’s a parenting score!