If you are looking for a new way to serve potatoes, this is it! I made these a few days ago with the intention of saving them for dinner that night. I have news for you, they didn’t survive the afternoon. We ate a few and then we ate more. We even ate them cold because they were delicious. Normally, the phrase “crash & burn” has a negative connotation to it, but not in this case. These little spuds are smashed (flattened) and roasted until super crispy then bathed in a spicy cinnamon malt vinegar sauce. Hence, the name Crash & Burn Potatoes.
I was given two copies of the book “Smashed, Mashed, Boiled & Baked” by Raghavan Iyer. One to keep and a copy to give away! The giveaway is at the end of the post, so make you scroll all the down for your chance to win. This is a great cookbook to have, especially if you are a potato lover!
One of the things I especially like about this recipe is the texture of the potatoes. They have a crispy outside and a tender, fluffy inside. The flavor is amazing and just spicy enough without feeling like a 5 alarm fire with your mouth. If you are not a fan of heat, by all means reduce the peppers to one. The sour cream will help to combat the heat, so I suggest a dip for serving alongside the spicy spuds. A friend of ours who can’t tolerate spicy foods found them to be tolerable. In fact, she asked for more!
Roast those Potatoes
Don’t be afraid of color! To put it another way – we want a nice, crispy crust on the outside. With this in mind, let them really roast! If you look closely at mine, you’ll see small char spots. You know what that is, friends?! Flavor. I’m not suggesting you burn them, but you do need a little char to give your potatoes that deep flavor. In order to get that delicious crunchy exterior, you will need to rotate your baking sheet and flip the potatoes. If they are pale when you pull them out of the oven, then put them back in for a few more minutes. In the meantime, while the potatoes are roasting, throw the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or mini food processor and let it rip.
Chef’s Tip : Plating
If you plan to serve these on a platter – whether it be for dinner with guests or a Super Bowl party, you’ll need a little green. While these potatoes are the star of the show, they could use a little punch of color. Consider fresh herbs or lemon and lime wedges on the platter to brighten it up a bit and make it more visually appealing.
Let’s Get Cookin’
Did I mention this recipe also helps get out your frustrations? For one thing, you get to smash them! And that’s always a good time. I flattened mine with a heavy glass measuring cup, but feel free to use a potato masher if you have one. Either way, you just need to flatten them out.
Used to make “Crash & Burn Potatoes”:
- 1½ pounds new red potatoes
- ¼ cup malt vinegar
- 3 to 5 dried red chiles (such as cayenne or chile de arbol), stems discarded
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 medium-size cloves garlic
- 2 slices fresh ginger (each about the size and thickness of a quarter; no need to peel first)
- 1 stick (3 inches) cinnamon, broken into smaller pieces
- Canola oil, for brushing
- Sour cream or creme fraiche, for serving (optional)
- 1. Scrub the potatoes well, give them a good rinse under cold running water, place them in a medium-size saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are just tender but still firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Take care not to overcook the potatoes. Drain them in a colander and rinse under cold running water to cool them down. Give the colander a few good shakes to rid the potatoes of excess water.
- As the potatoes cook, combine the vinegar, chiles, cumin seeds, salt, peppercorns, onion, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon in a blender jar. Puree until a highly pungent, reddish-brown paste forms, scraping the inside of the jar as needed. Add just enough water to make it brushable. Pour into a small bowl.
- 2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with oil.
- 3. Smash the potatoes one by one on a cutting board with a potato masher. Place each potato on the cookie sheet. Be sure to keep them separate. Liberally brush each of the smashed potatoes with oil on both sides.
- 4. Bake the potatoes until crispy brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Flip them over after about 12 minutes and rotate the cookie sheet front to back.
- 5. Once the potatoes are crisp, liberally brush each of them on both sides with the chile-vinegar sauce. Try to use all of it. Return the pan of potatoes to the oven and continue to bake them until they have a nice dried coat, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Serve hot, with sour cream or creme fraiche for dipping if you want to modulate the heat from the chiles.
- I used 3 chiles and I found it to be pleasantly spicy. If you REALLY like heat, use 4 or 5.
- To keep this recipe gluten-free, swap malt vinegar for cider vinegar.
- If you don't own a potato masher, use a heavy measuring cup or something with a flat bottom to flatten potatoes.
Win the Book!
Raghavan Iyer, a James Beard Award winner and IACP Award–winning Teacher of the Year, is the author of 660 Curries, Indian Cooking Unfolded, Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking, and The Turmeric Trail. He is also the host of the Emmy Award–winning documentary Asian Flavors and a member and past President (2014–2015) of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.