• Glooooorious potatoes in the sun. (Camellia Aebischer)Source: Camellia Aebischer
Can confirm, Silvia Colloca knows how to handle a potato. It's all in the crisp...
Camellia Ling Aebischer

30 Apr 2021 - 12:17 PM  UPDATED 9 Aug 2021 - 1:09 PM

Imagine a world void of soggy, limp roast potatoes. One where you never have to be let down by a chewy crust or thin sheen of golden that slides off just like the skin on hot milk. Welcome to Silvia Colloca’s world.

It’s hard to go past a good roast potato recipe and while flipping through recipes from The Cook Up, this crispy roast potato with watercress pesto recipe caught my potato-loving eye.

Smashed potatoes with watercress pesto

This is a quick and easy side set to complement any robust main dish with its zesty flavours.

All you’ve gotta do to achieve a nice crunchy outer is:

One, make sure you’re not using waxy potatoes. You'll need the starchy kind. For this recipe, red potatoes are required and for ease/cuteness they’re the baby kind - but this will work with whole potatoes cut in half or quarters.

Secondly, par-boil them first. You want your spuds cooked almost all the way through, so you can smash them and reveal all the fluffy surface area that you’re about to dress with olive oil. This brings me to the last step.

Squash. Them. Once cooked, drain and tip your potatoes out onto a roasting tray then using a solid glass or potato masher, press down on the potatoes so they split and create a glorious starchy surface area that’s going to roast up a treat.

Silvia says to oil the potatoes before smashing but I like to smash then drizzle with olive oil to get it all in the smashed cracks.

My watercress arrived super wilted so had to blend it straight away to save.

How to make smashed potatoes with watercress pesto

Take 700 g baby red potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and tip the potatoes out onto a roasting tray, then press down lightly to smash. Cover evenly with about 50 ml olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Roast at 200°C for 30-35 minutes until golden and crunchy.

Meanwhile in a food processor or blender place 1 bunch of watercress, ¼ cup almonds, 2 tbsp capers, the juice of one lemon (I just used half) and 50 ml olive oil. Blitz to form a pesto, then season to taste.

Serve potatoes drizzled in the pesto.

A nice lemony pesto helps balance the richness from the potatoes.

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