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If you're looking for a side dish that's familiar but also a little fancy, look no further! These rosemary smashed potatoes with whipped sherry garlic feta bring together common ingredients to create one incredibly delicious side.
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What makes this dish special
What's your favorite way to prepare potatoes? I know, it's a difficult question. French fries, mashed potatoes, latkes, I mean, they're all so delicious. One of my favorite ways has to be smashed potatoes. You really can't go wrong with them. I always enjoy the classic parmesan smashed potato, but since the holidays are coming up, I decided to jazz them up a bit. Pair rosemary smashed potatoes with whipped sherry garlic feta, and candied bacon and pecans and you have one outstanding side dish. It's so good that it might just steal the spotlight.
- Sweet sherry wine: Sweet sherry is a fortified wine with a sweet flavor. You can use dry sherry as an alternative, but the sweetness will be less pronounced. Adjust the quantity based on your preference.
- Garlic: For maximum garlic flavor, use fresh whole garlic cloves. As the garlic cooks, it will caramelize and sweeten, adding a lovely flavor to the whipped feta.
- Feta: The tangy, salty cheese with creamy texture compliments the creamy potatoes and sweet bacon pecan topping. You can also use goat cheese if you prefer.
- Bacon: For a sweet and salty element, we're making candied bacon and pecan topping. For great quality bacon, I purchased mine from Snake River Farms. For a vegetarian version, you can omit the bacon.
- Pecans: For crunchy texture and nutty flavor, we're adding pecans with the candied bacon. Walnuts or almonds can be used as a substitute for pecans in the topping. Choose your favorite nut for a similar crunch.
- Baby potatoes: Small potatoes that come in various varieties including red, white, and yellow. Baby potatoes have a waxy or creamy texture making them ideal for dishes where their small, bite-sized nature is desirable.
- Rosemary: The fresh herb adds a slightly peppery flavor and savory element. If you don't like rosemary, substitute it with thyme or oregano.
How to make rosemary smashed potatoes
Step 1: Make whipped feta
Every year, when it comes close to the holidays, I whip up several side dish recipes. This year, I wanted to shine some light on potatoes. Other than the fact that I wanted to use potatoes, I knew I wanted to also add bacon and a creamy sauce. After tasting sherry braised garlic (thank you, Nancy Silverton!) I knew I wanted to incorporate it into this recipe.
To make the sauce, combine sweet sherry wine with 15 garlic cloves in a pot. There are different kinds of sherry wine, ranging from dry to sweet. We want to use the sweeter version.
Cover the pot and simmer the garlic and wine for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the wine is reduced and syrupy. We cover the pot at the beginning of the cooking process to help soften the garlic. We then uncover the pot to allow the wine to reduce.
Remove the sherry braised garlic from the heat and blend it with feta until smooth. Feel free to make the whipped feta a day in advance.
Step 2: Prepare candied bacon and pecans
Next, prepare the candied bacon and pecans. You can also make this the day before.
Chop bacon into small pieces and toss them with whole raw pecans, brown sugar, and cayenne. I like the heat from the cayenne, but you can also omit it if you prefer.
Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Make sure to stir the mixture halfway through to allow even cooking.
If the nuts are toasted, but the bacon isn't extra crispy, remove the sheet pan and let the bacon rest on the pan. The pan is hot enough that it'll continue to finish crisping up the bacon.
Step 3: Smash potatoes
Now that the toppings are done, let's move on to the potatoes. You can use almost any type of potato, but I prefer the waxy ones. Waxy potatoes are creamier while high-starch potatoes will have a fluffier inside.
Before roasting the potatoes, you want to boil them whole until fork-tender. They should be tender enough for a fork to easily pierce through but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and use a cup or another tool to smash the potatoes.
Season the smashed potatoes with fresh rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss them in oil and spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Continue cooking the rosemary smashed potatoes until crispy, flipping them halfway through.
Spread the whipped sherry garlic feta on a serving plate and top it with the potatoes. Sprinkle a generous amount of candied bacon and pecans, and dig in!
With my first bite, I immediately knew I found a winner. These rosemary smashed potatoes check off all the boxes: sweet, creamy, herbaceous, and tangy. I loved it so much, I ate it as my main dish!
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can substitute regular potatoes for baby potatoes. I recommend using waxy potatoes for a creamier texture and cutting the potatoes into bite-size chunks.
Certainly! Prepare the whipped feta and store it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before serving for the best consistency.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat the potatoes in the oven or toaster oven to maintain their crispy texture.
Here are some of my favorite meals to pair with the smashed potatoes:
Rosemary Smashed Potatoes with Whipped Sherry Garlic Feta
Whipped sherry garlic feta
- ¾ cup sweet sherry wine
- 15 garlic cloves peeled
- 4 ounces feta
- pinch of salt
Candied bacon and pecans
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- ½ cup raw pecans
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 24 ounces baby potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine sherry and garlic cloves in a small sauce pan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove cover and cook until garlic is tender and sherry is reduced to a syrup, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Combine reduced sherry, garlic, and feta in a blender or food processor. Blend mixture until smooth. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.
- Toss chopped bacon with pecans, brown sugar, and cayenne. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bacon is crispy and pecans are toasted, stirring halfway through. Remove from heat and transfer to parchment paper. Let cool.
- Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
- Spread potatoes on baking sheet and smash using the bottom of a cup. Combine olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and lemon zest, and pour mixture over potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning over potatoes halfway through. Remove from oven.
- Spread sherry garlic feta on serving plate and place potatoes on top. Sprinkle candied bacon and pecans and serve immediately.