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The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook: Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

A delicious side dish that owes its delectable flavor to the large quantities of half-and-half, butter, sour cream, and cheese that go into it. Ina Garten says that if you're being virtuous with the somewhat lean Turkey Meatloaf, you can serve these potatoes alongside it and feel good about it. I'd still like a better meatloaf, but the potatoes are fantastic.

My only quibble; Garten says to cook whole red potatoes for 25 to 35 minutes, until tender. She doesn't specify that she's using very small new potatoes, which are the only ones that will cook through that quickly. If you can't find itty-bitty red potatoes (about the size of a walnut, or smaller), then you'll need to cut the potatoes in halves or quarters so that they don't take forever to cook. Red creamer potatoes that you'll normally find at the supermarket should definitely be cut into quarters.

Garten says to heat the half-and-half and butter in a saucepan; I thought it was easier to heat them together in a large Pyrex cup in the microwave. That way I didn't have to wash another pan.

The recipe says to use a stand mixer to smash the potatoes. If you don't have one, or don't want to drag it out for this recipe, you could use a handheld potato masher.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: about 25 to 35 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

3 pounds unpeeled red potatoes, washed (cut into halves or quarters if necessary, see note above)
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes and 1 Tbsp salt in a large saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer covered for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are completely tender. Drain.

Heat the half-and-half and butter in a small saucepan, or in the microwave, until hot.

Put the potatoes in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for a few seconds to break them up, then slowly add the hot cream mixture to the potatoes, mixing on low speed. (Alternately, mix the potatoes and hot cream with a potato masher.) By hand, fold in the sour cream, Parmesan, remaining salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning, then serve immediately.

To reheat, place the potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp Parmsan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the top is browned and the potatoes are heated through.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.