Parmesan Gremolata Smashed Potatoes

Nothing says Spring quite like lemon to me.  It’s the vibrant color.  The crisp flavor.  The promise of blue skies and warm weather.  The way it wakes up your tastebuds after winter.

Chilled glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade topped with sprigs of mint.

A drizzle over asparagus or spinach or grilled fish.

Lemon meringue pie.  Sorbet.  Roast chicken.

And one of my new favorites — lemony smashed potatoes.

As soon as I saw this recipe over at Use Real Butter, I knew I had to try them.  Come on, who doesn’t love some smashed potatoes.  And the gremolata just ups the whole game.  The only change I made was to decrease the salt down to 1/2 teaspoon.  But that’s only because we’ve been trying to cut back on our salt intake and as a result seem to notice it a lot more in food now.

If you’re still looking for a side dish for your Easter dinner, try this one.  It’s exactly how you’d expect Spring to taste — bright, crisp and flavorful.

And, if you have kids, this is a great recipe for them to help with.  Of course, if yours is like mine, you might need to serve it with a side of ketchup.

Parmesan Gremolata Smashed Potatoes
(barely adapted from Use Real Butter)

Serves 4

2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and minced
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced (should be about 1/4 cup when minced)
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and let dry.

Drizzle a little olive oil on a shallow rimmed baking sheet.  Place the potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer, coating the bottom of each potato in some of the oil.  And here’s where the kid friendliness comes in — using a meat tenderizer (or heavy-bottomed drinking glass, measuring cup, etc.) gently smash each potato flat. The smashed potatoes should be about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick.  (Optional tip for parents:  Say “Smash” like the Hulk each time and your kid will be even more delighted.)

Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the smashed potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt.  (More fun for the kids.)  Pop the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes over half-way through.

While the potatoes are roasting, make the gremolata — Mix the garlic, parsley, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese together in a small bowl.  When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and (in a large bowl) toss them with the gremolata.