A Flavor Loaded Appetizer or Side Dish
These Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes are smothered in homemade pesto, baked and topped again with popping fresh drizzled pesto. Making these tasty crunchy potato nuggets full of wonderful basil and garlic flavor. These smashed potatoes are so easy and fun to make. Bring out the young ones and make these a family adventure in smashing small potatoes. Definitely a memorable time together! Serve them up as a complementary side dish or appetizer at your next family meal or dinner party. This recipes makes about 7 servings with two smashed potatoes each.
Some History Of Pesto
Most pestos have a base used of a variety of basil herbs. Basil was first introduced the Mediterranean countries through old world spice routes from India. The Romans were possibly the first peoples to create a ground mixture of herbs, cheese and garlic into a paste called moretum. Later in Liguria a region of northern Italy added Roman cheese, olive oil and pine nuts to pesto. Being that Liguria grew these herbs and ingredients naturally on their hillsides, they had the first recorded recipe of pesto in 1863 by Giovanni Battista Ratto. It still remains the first origins of todays modern recipe of pesto.
Today pesto is found in all of our local grocery stores. It is made in a vast array of mixtures of herbs, greens, spices, tomatoes, garlic, oils and different kinds of nuts. All being created to complement a variety of dishes as toppers or the main palate attraction to a meal such as pizza or a delicious spread on a sandwich. I am sure there are still a variety of pestos to be created that have not been ventured yet. Let’s see what the future holds.
How To Prepare Smashed Potatoes
I start with 1 1/2 pounds of baby gold potatoes for these Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes. Make sure to wash and scrub them well. Put them in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil on high heat. Turn down heat to medium-high heat for a low boil and cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. (Make pesto while baby potatoes are cooking) Check for doneness with a knife or fork to see for tenderness when the knife or fork slides easily through the potatoes.
When the baby potatoes are done drain them and let them release their steam for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile prepare a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the baby potatoes onto the parchment paper setting them about two inches apart. Take a glass with a flat bottom and place it over the baby potatoes and press down lightly until the potato starts to squash. Don’t smash too hard or little chunks of potato will fall away from the potato. You just want to break them open and be flat.
Making The Pesto For Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes
When making the pesto for the Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes I make sure to use two large handfuls of basil. Basil grounds up to be mush less in volume then you think it is going to be. Put it all the ingredients for the pesto in a large food processor. (I use the Hamilton Beach Food Processor)
Blend it all together until it comes out to a pesto consistency. You will have to blend and clean sides and do this about two time so that there are no chunks in the pesto. It should look like the photo below.
Putting The Pesto On the Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes
First spray or drizzle a little olive oil over each prepared smashed potato. Top about a teaspoon or more of the pesto over each smashed potato. Top with more salt. It might seem like a lot of salt but it honestly needs it. Think of it like potato chips and how you would want them to taste. Put them in a prepared heated oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. The pesto will be a lot darker when cooked.
When they are done transfer them into a large platter and top them with remaining pesto. You may have to add some extra water or olive oil to make it thinner to drizzle over the Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes. Top again with more salt and ground black pepper if needed and optional hot pepper flakes.
I’m venturing into making a variety of these types of potatoes in the future. I hope you like these delicious Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes as much as we do. Enjoy!
More Recipes You May Like:Print
These Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes are dairy free and double loaded with baked pesto and drizzled fresh pesto. All deliciously assembled on a crispy smashed potato that was topped with olive oil, sea salt and hot pepper flakes. This is an easy fun filled recipe to make with your young ones. So get them involved with the smashing and dolloping of pesto. This is such a great appetizer or side dish. Makes about 7 servings of two Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 pounds of Baby Golden or Baby Yellow Potatoes
- Olive Oil for drizzling
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper (for a pinch on top of each smashed potato)
- 2 large handfuls of Fresh Organic Basil (about two cups or more)(stems removed)
- 4 cloves of Garlic
- 1/4 cup of Walnuts
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Organic Lemon Juice
- 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Preparing The Baby Potatoes
- Add washed and scrubbed baby potatoes to a large pot. Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat. After it comes to a boil turn the heat down to medium-heat and continue cooking uncovered on a low boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a knife or a fork to insert into the potato. When it is done the knife or fork will insert easily.
- While the potatoes are cooking prepare the pesto in a large food processor. (I use a Hamilton Beach Food Processor) Add all the pesto ingredients and blend to combine. Stop to scrap down sides twice so that there are no chunks in the pesto.
- Taste and adjust the flavor as needed (may need more sea salt).
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. When the potatoes are done and drained put them on the lined baking sheet pan at about two inches apart. Take a clear drinking glass with a flat bottom and squish the glass down on top of the baby potatoes until they start to split and smash. Don’t smash down to hard or bits of potato will fall away from the potato. For larger potatoes cut them in half and them smash them.
- Take the extra virgin olive oil and drizzle each potato with it. Then top the potato with about 1 1/2 tsp of the fresh pesto. Add more sea salt and ground black pepper to the tops.
- Put in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
- When they are done transfer them to a large plate or platter and top the rest of the fresh pesto on top of the baked Crispy Pesto Smashed Potatoes. Then add (if desired) more salt and hot red pepper flakes.
- Garnish with more fresh basil leaves, slices of garlic and walnuts.
Store leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Smashed potatoes will keep for 3 to 4 days in refrigerator. Pesto will keep for a week in the refrigerator.
Reheating smashed potatoes: Reheat at 350 degrees in the oven until hot and top with more of the left over pesto and serve.
Keywords: appetizer, Italian, side dish, New Years Eve, Christmas, Holiday, 4th of July, vegan, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl, Thanksgiving, Mediterranean