New Age Fries: Crispy Smashed Potatoes & Chipotle Aioli

If you think potatoes should be filed under “lackluster side dish,” guess again. This recipe will straight up leave you wondering how to marry a potato.  

Inspired by the cute and quaint Little Pine restaurant in Silver Lake, whose menu is solely comprised of small vegan plates, and, you guessed it, a certain Crispy Mashed Potatoes dish. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, but after trying them I was blown away. The potatoes made me finally understand the lyrics to Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” (cue chorus).

I came home from my Little Pine experience and went to work trying to figure out how to successfully recreate these. They take a little bit of time and care, but when they’re done right it’s love at first bite.  

We’ve paired our variation of these potatoes with a vegan chipotle aioli that you might find yourself eating by the spoonful.

| INGREDIENTS |

POTATOES:

6 Yellow Potatoes, preferably about 2-3” in length

Ghee

Sea Salt

Pepper

CHIPOTLE AIOLI:

1 cup Raw Cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours

¼ cup Water

3 tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Coconut Sugar or Evaporated Cane Juice

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

¼ teaspoon Sea Salt

½ teaspoon Chipotle

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Potatoes

1 | To prepare the cashew mayo, strain and rinse the soaked cashews. Place the ingredients in the blender except for the olive oil. Blend until completely smooth. Turn the blender on low and stream the olive oil in through the top. This ensures that the oil will not overheat and that it gets properly emulsified.

2 | To prepare the potatoes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Clean the potatoes in some cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Boil a large pot of water. Salt the water with a generous pinch of sea salt. Once the water is up to a boil, drop in your cleaned potatoes and boil for about 20 minutes. You should be able to pierce the potatoes all the way through with a fork without much pressure. Drain off the boiling water and dry off the potatoes in a towel.

3 | Oil a large sheet pan with ghee. I like to use my fingers for this part (sue me), but you can also use a pastry brush. You want the bottom to be thoroughly oiled, otherwise the potatoes will stick to the pan and won’t cook properly.  

4 | One by one, place a potato on a cutting board and crush the potato using your body weight on the bottom of an empty pot or pan. Using a spatula, transfer the smashed potatoes to the oiled sheet pan, leaving a bit of room between them to ensure that they get cooked evenly.  

It’s essential that these are cooked all the way through before smashing. If they aren’t, the potato will shoot across the room like a hot potato fireball and knock over your friend’s wine glass. (Not that I would know, because I always cook mine perfectly.) If you do end up with undercooked potatoes though, simply throw them on the sheet pan whole and let them cook for a few minutes until tender enough to smash.  

5 | After you have smashed all of the potatoes, season them with sea salt and pepper. You’ll want to use a good amount of salt, but not too much pepper, as the chipotle aioli will deliver most of the spice.  

6 | Put the sheet pan into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the bottoms are nicely browned.  

7 | Take out the potatoes after the 20 minutes are up and flip them over with a spatula. Add a bit more ghee to the pan–don’t use your fingers this time though, unless you plan on eating those with the potatoes. Instead, simply drop about a teaspoon of ghee onto each edge of the sheet pan and the residual heat will naturally disperse the ghee across the pan. Season again with salt and a pinch of pepper. Put the potatoes back into the oven for 25-35 minutes until crispy.

8 | Serve immediately with a side of chipotle aioli for dipping.  

Serves 1-2.

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