Appetizer Alert: Try These Cheesy Brie Smashed Baby Potatoes Now
Image Credit: Shutterstock | Try These Cheesy Brie Smashed Baby Potatoes Now

It's best to serve these crispy smashed potatoes right off the pan since they're at their best when they're hot and fresh. It's fun to eat mashed potatoes for brunch or dinner. In addition to those occasions, they're also great any time you want some crispy potatoes, but you don't want French fries. If salad-for-dinner feels too austere, they go well with hearty salads, too.

The Devilish Potatoes

Prussian soldiers captured Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a French army pharmacist, during the Seven Years War of the mid-1700s. While a prisoner of war, he had to survive on potato rations. It would have qualified as cruel and unusual punishment in mid-18th century France: potatoes were regarded as feed for livestock, and they were believed to cause leprosy in humans. As a result of the fear, the French passed a law against them in 1748. However, Parmentier discovered in prison that potatoes are not deadly. They're actually quite tasty. He began to proselytize to his countrymen about the wonders of the tuber after his release at the end of the war. Among the ways, he did this was by demonstrating all the delicious ways it could be served, including mashed. A potato ban in France was lifted in 1772. More than a century later, one can order mashed potatoes in dozens of countries, from fast food to fine dining.

Its history spans 10,000 years and includes scenes in Peru and Ireland, as well as cameo appearances by Thomas Jefferson and a food scientist who helped invent a ubiquitous snack food. 

The Origins of the Potato

Potatoes most likely became domesticated in the Andes mountains of Peru and northwest Bolivia, where they were used for food as far back as 8000 BCE. The early potatoes looked very different from the potatoes known today. Their bitter taste could not be cured by cooking, and they came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Their poisonous nature made them a little dangerous. Wild relatives of the llama would lick clay before eating it in order to counteract this toxicity. As the toxins in the potatoes adhered to the clay particles, the animals would be able to consume them safely. Observing this, people in the Andes began dunking their potatoes in a mixture of clay and water -- not the most appetizing gravy, perhaps, but an ingenious solution to the potato problem. Even today, when most potato varieties are safe to eat due to selective breeding, one can still purchase poisonous varieties in Andean markets, where they are sold with digestion-aiding clay dust.

cheese baby potatoes

1. Baby Potatoes

2. 2 lb baby potatoes

3. 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4. 2 garlic cloves

5. 1 small rosemary branch

6. 2 bay leaves

7. kosher salt

8. Cheese Melt

9. 5 Oz chopped Brie

10. 5 Oz chopped Camembert

11. 1/2 cup ricotta

12. Zest of 1 lemon

13. Juice of 1/2 a lemon

14. Freshly ground black pepper

15. Chili flakes

16. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

17. Red Aioli

18. 1/3 cup whole milk at room temperature

19. 1 cup sunflower oil

20. paprika, salt, and pepper to taste (can be mild, smoked, or hot paprika)


Baby Potatoes

1. Fill a big pot with water, add a little salt, 2 garlic cloves, 1 small rosemary and 2 bay leaves and bring to a boil.

2. When the water is boiling, add baby potatoes.

3. Cook the potatoes until it can easily be pierced with a fork (20-25 minutes). Drain and set aside.

4. Place each potato on the greased baking sheet and press down with another similar baking sheet (a potato smasher can also be used). Don't push too hard, or it will turn into a puree! Reserve for later.

5. When ready to assemble, place pressed potatoes on a greased baking sheet and cook until crisp golden edges are achieved. (375° F preheated oven for 20 minutes)

6. Remove from the oven and add the cheese melt mix to each potato.

7. Bake for ten more minutes or until cheese is melted.

8. Serve with sliced figs, drizzle citric jam, and sprinkle chili flakes on top.

9. Drizzle red aioli to taste or arrange for dipping.

10. Garnish with more rosemary.

Cheese Melt

1. Mix all the ingredients together and reserve

2. Red Aioli

3. Combine all the ingredients in a jar.

4. Mix with a hand mixer, slowly moving the blender up and down

5. Form a nice thick sauce, almost like mayonnaise

6. Transfer to a plastic sauce bottle and chill until needed