Silky mashed potatoes, pulverized peas and more smooth sides spell out pure comfort, and it’s no wonder why these stick-to-your-ribs instances of mashed glory line our holiday tables year after year. Really anyone can eat them (we mean it, even babies can), but just because you can mash something to a different state of matter, doesn’t mean you always should. Before obliterating your veggies beyond recognition, those who dig more texture in their food should exercise some restraint and adopt a chunkier approach: what we like to call the “smash.” And we’ve got the most-smashing ways to do it right here.
Pounding and pureeing and ricing potatoes works when your side of mashed will hold a lake of gravy, but going the smashed route imparts the root veggie side with a whole lot more character. Rachael Ray doesn’t get carried away with the mashing of her Cheesy Smashed Potatoes, which are loaded with cheddar, sour cream and chives for the ultimate year-round side.
Instead of going for mashed, Tyler Florence goes for smashed potatoes too — but not just any. With its zip of citrus and integration of green peas, his Smashed New Potatoes with Peas, Lemon and Pearl Onions is the brightest potato recipe in the game. Roughly crushing skin-on new potatoes gives this super-easy side big texture, so the other vegetables can mingle together, instead of getting swallowed up in something more creamy and buttery.
It may not look like it, but Giada De Laurentiis’ seasonal pasta dinner also depends on the smashed technique. She mashes cooked peas with the back of a wooden spoon to integrate them into her Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese just right.
Adding just three tablespoons of your favorite store-bought pesto or homemade recipe is enough to elevate potatoes from cold-weather comfort to the heights of springtime bliss. Topped off with fresh ricotta or sour cream, Food Network Magazine’s Smashed Pesto Potatoes features the herbaceous flavor with a highly chunky texture.
Peas and potatoes aren’t the only vegetables that could use a good smash. Geoffrey Zakarian uses the technique for his refreshing cucumber-date salad; he crushes the cucumbers until the juices leak out, then tosses them with sliced fennel, pitted Medjool dates, chopped walnuts and a simple dressing.
Though other recipes might instruct you to wait for the smashing until the potatoes are cooked, Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Bacon-and-Cheese Smashed Potatoes requires a different approach from the get-go. Instead of waiting for a giant pot of water to boil and cooking whole potatoes that way, simply chop raw potatoes, put them in a pot and cover with an inch of cold water. With a little simmering, they’ll be ready for the game-changing addition of smoky bacon, sour cream, chives and cheddar.
Get more mashed recipes from our friends in #SensationalSides:
The Lemon Bowl: Honey Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Creative Culinary: Roasted Carrot and Leek Mash
The Mediterranean Dish: Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Dip with Turmeric and Smoked Paprika
Devour: 6 Twists on Mashed Potatoes That’ll Have You Dancing in the Kitchen
The Mom 100: Mashed Yukon and Sweet Potatoes with Sauteed Leeks
Swing Eats: Mashed Turnips with Celery Root
Taste with the Eyes: Fun Little Baked Potato Shooters
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