These are an incredible taste hit with a wonderfully moreish, soft texture. I often make these as a side to a main meal, but they’re great if you’re having nibbles with some friends and work really well to accompany toasted ciabatta and olive oil as a hot salad. Because the potatoes are deliciously soft before you even begin to roast them, it’s very easy to mash them beyond all recognition if you’re too brutish, but my advice is to try this (at least once!) This exact same recipe makes two very delicious and different dishes, dependent upon just how much you break up the potatoes. The recipe here, which is how I normally make it, requires you to bash the potatoes until they’re only just falling apart (the photo gives a good indication). But if you throw caution to the wind and bash them to smithereens, the inside of the potatoes really soaks up the oil and flavours and is a more indulgent affair.
- 2¼ lbs / 1kg new potatoes
- 5¼ fluid ounces / 150ml groundnut oil
- 1 bulb of garlic
- sea salt
Put the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 30 minutes.
While you’re boiling the potatoes, preheat the oven to 220c (200c fan) and place a roasting tin in the oven with the oil.
Once the potatoes have had their time, drain them in a collander. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and squish slightly with the heel of a large knife.
Return the potatoes to the empty saucepan and using the end of a rolling pin, squish the potatoes slightly (be careful because they’ll be very soft and you don’t want to mash them, you want them to start breaking apart but still keep their shape).
Once the oven has reached temperature, remove the tray of oil and carefully place in the garlic and then the potatoes (be careful as the oil may splash and spit a little).
Gently turn everything over in the oil and then return to the oven for 15 minutes.
Toss everything in the tray and return for another 15 minutes.
Remove and sprinkle with sea salt before serving.
If you want an extra garlic kick you can replace the groundnut oil with garlic oil, but it’ll probably be at least a month before anyone agrees to kiss you. On the plus side you’ll be completely safe from vampires.
In some ancient Christian mythological beliefs, garlic first grew in the footprints of Satan when he left the Garden of Eden. From earliest times, garlic has been regarded either as a natural cure (Hippocrates tried using it to cure cancer and it was thought to ward off plague in the Middle Ages) or, more superstitiously, as a means of repelling evil forces (including vampires – which may be why it is so good with steak!). A person who is afraid of garlic suffers from alliumphobia.