These Potatoes Fondantes, or smashed potatoes, are so delicious! I’ve been making them for dinner parties and special events for years, and always get requests for the recipe. I’ve made them ahead of time for Thanksgiving dinner at someone else’s house, and reheated them once I get there, and they’re still delicious! And, I absolutely love them cold from the fridge the next day; so no matter how tempted I am to finish off any leftovers I make sure that a few get saved so I can nibble them the next day. (I’ve been thinking about this too… I bet you could make these according to the recipe, and pop them in a crock pot to keep warm and take them to a family gathering. Now, I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would work.)
In case you’re wondering about the name, Wikipedia defines Potatoes Fondantes as, “Fondant potatoes, or pommes fondant, is a method of preparing potatoes that traditionally involves cutting them into cylinders, browning the ends, and then slowly roasting them in butter and stock.” Sounds so homey and nice doesn’t it!
This particular recipe for Potatoes Fondantes comes from Jacques Pépin, who I grew up watching on public television. He is such an amazing cook. I love that his style is so approachable and so great for home cooks. He has always been one of my favorite chefs.
These amazing little potatoes are actually quite easy to make too. A little boiling, a little crushing, and a little more cooking. And, voila! Delicious little buttery, full flavored potato-y goodness. I’ve made them more than a few times where I didn’t get much crust on them, and that’s just fine too! They are still super delicious!
The Yukon Golds are a big part of the success of this recipe. They feel and taste like there’s tons of butter in the dish, but there isn’t. The other key to the deliciousness, is the broth. The potatoes are cracked open, and that allows the broth to seep into the potatoes as they cook, adding lots of flavor and moisture to the dish.
I always use veggie broth when I make these. I love them with homemade broth or with store-bought broth (this is the brand I use now most of the time). But, use whatever broth you are most fond of, chicken broth or veggie broth; I wouldn’t use beef or fish stock, I’d think that would overpower these potatoes.
- 2 lbs baby Yukon Gold potatoes 20 to 25 potatoes, 1 ½ to 1 ¾ inches in diameter
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 cups homemade or low-salt veggie broth
- 2 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt less if the broth is salty
- 1 to 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives or additional fresh rosemary
- Fleur de sel or other coarse grain sea salt for serving optional
- Trim the potatoes of any eyes or damaged areas and wash well in cold water. Arrange as many potatoes as will fit in one layer in a 10 to 12-inch cast iron or other non-stick skillet (there should be a little room to spare, they'll need the extra room later when they're cracked).
- Add the rosemary, broth, oil, butter, and salt to the potatoes in the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan but leave the lid slightly ajar, or loosely cover the skillet with foil, and boil until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. The liquid should still surround the potatoes, a bit less than halfway up; if it doesn’t, add more broth or water until it does.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Pierce each potato with a fork, and as you pierce, press down on the potato with a ¼-cup measure to crack them open; this helps them absorb more broth and ensures a creamy, moist interior.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat, and cook, uncovered, until all the liquid has evaporated and the potatoes have browned on one side, about 10 minutes. Gently turn the potatoes and brown the other side, another 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the potatoes rest for 5 minutes, and transfer them to a serving platter. Sprinkle potatoes with chopped chives or rosemary and fleur de sel. Enjoy!
Adapted from Fine Cooking Issue 64