Let’s be honest, there are few things better than perfectly crisp yet still creamy potatoes. There’s just something comforting about them. Maybe because potatoes are a staple of so many cuisines so it’s a food that’s relatable to so many people.
And let’s face another fact, smashed potatoes are definitely not a new thing in the food world but they are still one of my favorite ways to prepare small potatoes. They are relatively easy and can be dressed up in so many ways so the possibilities are endless!
Here, the crispy potatoes are paired with a delicious dipping sauce made with tarragon, Meyer lemon and crème fraîche. It’s wonderful this time of year as we are heading into late Autumn as tarragon can still be found at the market before it disappears until Spring and Meyer lemons are just starting to make their appearance.
Now, let’s take a moment to talk about crème fraîche, the tangy cultured cream that allows you to whip up the dipping sauce in no time. Crème fraîche is a cooking cream that originated and is beloved in France. It is created by adding a bacterial culture to fresh sweet cream which results in a thicker, more complex cream flavor in the finished product. Aside from the taste, my favorite thing about this cultured cream is how versatile it is as it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Plus, it just seems so decadent and an easy way to elevate any meal.
Here’s a few other important notes about this dish:
Where to shop: Make sure to look for crème fraîche either in the dairy section of your grocery store or in the specialty cheese area. It will be packaged in tub that looks similar to cream cheese or sour cream. I like the Vermont Creamery brand which is also widely available.
Substitutions: If you really can’t find crème fraîche, you can substitute sour cream mixed with a little buttermilk (The Splendid Table has a good tutorial) or try a full-fat Greek yogurt although neither will have the same tang as the crème fraîche.
Leftovers?: While I don’t think you’ll need to worry about any leftover potatoes, if there is any leftover dipping sauce, try mixing it into a bowl of hot pasta for a quick and easy leftover makeover.
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Tarragon & Meyer Lemon Sauce
Time: 45 Minutes
For the Crispy Smashed Potatoes
2 lbs. small waxy potatoes (such as new potatoes or baby yellow dutch potatoes)
6-8 cups water (enough to cover the potatoes in a large pot)
1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup light oil (such as olive oil or avocado oil)
Flakey sea salt, for garnish
Ripped tarragon leaves, for garnish
For the Tarragon & Meyer Lemon Sauce
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest (about 1 small lemon)
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon
8 ounces crème fraîche
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Place an oven rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 450F.
2. In a large pot, place the potatoes and cover with water. Add in the 1/4 cup salt and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork but are not overcooked.
3. Drain the potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt over the potatoes and toss to coat well. Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool for about 5 minutes. Set aside oil that is remaining in the bowl.
4. You’ll need something flat, round and heavy to smash each of the potatoes. Measuring cups and coffee mugs work great! Lightly press down on each of the potatoes until they are smashed but not completely broken apart.
5. Drizzle the leftover oil over the potatoes. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack and let roast for 30-35 minutes or until a crispy crust has developed and the potatoes are golden brown.
6. To make the Tarragon & Meyer Lemon Sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Let sit for at least for 10 minutes before serving to let the flavors come together.
7. Serve the potatoes garnished with flakey sea salt and ripped tarragon leaves alongside the dipping sauce.