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Chef Jon makes sense

New potatoes, above, become Crash Hot Potatoes, right

OK, the man who makes Camp Coast Care hum got us thinking about it -- about working smarter, not harder. About buying "in bulk," cooking lots at once and using what you cook for more than one meal.


We realized we already apply that principal to new potatoes.


We love them, probably for some reason as silly as having been served whole potatoes when we were kids, and not 1 but 2 or 3. It might be their waxy goodness, how neatly they cube up for cottage fries. It might be that having boiled a few pounds of them, it's a short hop to Crash Hot Potatoes.


You're gonna love these, and you make them from, well, leftovers, little red potatoes preferably smaller than 2 inches in diameter, simmered until tender but not mushy, cooled and refrigerated.


Fire up the oven, whip out a few pantry staples and -- voila! -- a side dish to die for. We wish we could take credit for having come up with the idea of squashing the boiled potatoes, but that credit goes to Jill Dupleix who wrote and illustrated a cookbook called "Simple Food." We messed around with the rest; you can too.


CRASH HOT POTATOES
3 pounds small red potatoes
Water in a pan large enough to let the potatoes move around a bit
Salt
Spanish olive oil or garlic infused olive oil
Kosher salt
Coarse ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (moisten and chop them a bit)
1 tablespoon fresh-dried* oregano leaves


Heat the oven to 500 degrees or the highest setting. Put the potatoes in a large pan (a Dutch oven), cover with water, add some table salt, a couple of teaspoons, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until you can barely pierce a potato with a skewer. You want them cooked but not too soft.


Drain the potatoes and either cool completely and refrigerate and/or place however many you intend to eat (and you'll be able to eat more than you think) on a lightly oiled baking pan. Using the heel of your hand or something else flat and heavy, squash each potato so its about twice its original diameter, but not so hard that they become potato parts. You'll get the hang of it quickly. Brush with more oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, fennel seeds and oregano.
Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve hot.


*By fresh-dried, we mean buy it fresh, let the sprigs stand about upright in an empty glass or jar on the counter until the leaves are barely dry, but dry enough that they won't go moldy when you pluck them and put them in a sandwich bag. This will be far better than jarred dried oregano, more fragrant and tastier, and far, far better than flavoring EVERYTHING with oregano so you can quickly use up the fresh stuff before it goes bad in the fridge.


When you're ready for more Crash Hot Potatoes, take the cold boiled ones from the fridge and go back to the part where you heat the oven, oil the pan and so on.



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