May it Please the Palate Crash Hot Potatoes

 There I was, casually strolling through the social melting pot that is Facebook, stopping to chuckle at the new urban legend about Sarah Palin, when I saw it. 

Crash Hot Potatoes. 
My heart skipped a beat. I can’t even remember which of my friends posted the recipe, and I don’t really care if I have any friends anymore besides my beloved potatoes. (Secret: if you ever try and hack my banking website, and they ask the security question “what is your favorite food?”you’ll know what to say. Remember it’s in the plural. I once answered the singular “potato” and my bank froze me out for 24 hours.)
First there’s the name. It sounds reckless and hip at the same time - kind of like me, right? Second there’s the word “potato” in it. I could utter the seductive cliché “You had me at potato,” which is generally true, but “crash” and “hot” really give it juice.
Third, what’s really exciting, is that I never heard about cooking potatoes this way. Apparently this is a cooking trend that came from Australia and is sweeping our continent like wildfire, judging from the fact that one of my Facebook friends posted it. You boil little potatoes in salt water, then mash them crosswise like a peanut butter cookie on a sheet pan brushed with olive oil. Then you roast them in a very hot oven.
Fourth, these potatoes are easy and adaptable. You can season them with salt and pepper, add fresh herbs, garlic, cheese, sour cream, or all of the above. 
But fifth, the way they taste. They are seriously fair dinkum, mate.
 
Crash Hot Potatoes
Recipe by Ree Drummond
 
12 small yellow potatoes 
Kosher salt 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
Fresh ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until fork-tender, about 12 minutes. 
Preheat the oven to 475F. 
Place the potatoes on an oiled baking sheet. Using a potato masher, gently press down to mash each one. The tops of the potatoes should be really textured. Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. These are absolutely irresistible! 
 
Variations: 
Before baking, top each potato with fresh herbs, minced garlic, a dab of butter, or grated parmesan or white cheddar. Serve with sour cream.
So I just went back on Facebook and liked a page called “Potatoes.” That’s the food. Don’t go liking the singular “Potato” – unless you’re fans of a certain Thai rock band. 
The distinction is apparently important not just in baking and banking, but in social media. Choose your friends carefully!
 
Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. He occasionally updates his blog at http://mayitpleasethepalate.blogspot.com/.

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