Gochugaru Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Smashed potatoes seem pretty trendy lately, and they are a really easy and delicious side dish to accompany any meal. The wonderful thing about potatoes is that they taste good with so many different seasonings and flavor profiles, so you can dress them up to fit within a variety of cuisines.
I made these gochugaru garlic smashed potatoes to accompany a bulgogi-inspired meatloaf (recipe coming soon!) and they were fantastic. Gochugaru is a Korean red chili flake - it's the red chili flake commonly used in kimchi and has a really lovely flavor and fragrance.
TLDR: you can watch the whole recipe in 45 seconds at the bottom of this post.
Per usual, I took inspiration from a few recipes to create this dish:
The Kimchi dipping sauce is based on my friend Rachel's adaptations to Food52's recipe
I used my own homemade kimchi which is based on the incredible Maangchi's recipe
Here's how to make it:
Like many great recipes, this one starts with (optional) bacon. Cook 3-4 slices of bacon until crisp on very low heat so the fat renders out. This will take a while, so get it started before you begin the other steps. If you're a vegetarian or don't eat pork, you can easily skip the bacon without compromising the dish.
Boil 1.5 lb small potatoes until they are soft, but not falling apart. Remember to salt the water! You'll want them to be al dente, if it's appropriate to use a pasta descriptor for potatoes. This usually takes about 15 minutes for potatoes that are about 1.5-2 inches in diameter. (If you're using larger potatoes, you can cut them into chunks.)
While they boil, you'll prepare two sauces: gochugaru garlic butter and kimchi dipping sauce.
For the gochugaru garlic butter: mince 4-5 cloves of garlic. Add the garlic to a small saucepan with 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of gochugaru over the butter and garlic, and melt it over very low heat on the stove. (Change the amount of gochugaru depending on how spicy you want it - taste a pinch to determine how much you want. Do keep in mind that as it blooms in the butter, the heat and flavor will become stronger. I learned this the hard way with too many red pepper flakes in pasta alla vodka...) Keep the mixture melted and warm over low heat, but if it starts to bubble or the garlic starts to brown, turn the heat down or off.
5. For the kimchi dipping sauce: add a heaping soup spoon of mayo and a heaping soup spoon of plain greek yogurt or sour cream to a bowl. I didn't measure this, so I don't have precise amounts, but this sauce is made to taste so don't worry too much about precision. Chop up a few scallions and mix them into the mayo and yogurt mixture. Chop up a heaping soup spoon of kimchi and mix it in. Season with salt, honey, and liquid from the kimchi, tasting for balance and deliciousness. I like to add the seasonings gradually so I can make small adjustments until it tastes good to me.
6. By now, the potatoes should be soft. Drain the water from the pot and let the potatoes sit in the hot pot, covered, for 5 minutes. Then lay them out on a cutting board. To smash the potatoes, use any dish with a flat bottom that's larger than the potatoes to press down on them evenly. I use a rocks glass, but a measuring cup or ramekin works well too.
7. Heat a nonstick skillet on the stove and add neutral oil and/or bacon grease. If you want to use the same pan you cooked the bacon in, you can - however, if there is a lot of schmutz left in the pan from the bacon, the potatoes might stick. Put the smashed potatoes in a single layer in the pan and salt them. You'll need to do this in two batches unless your pan is gigantic. Make sure they aren't too crowded. Once they start to get brown and crispy on the bottom, flip them to crisp up the other side, salting the second side after you flip.
8. Transfer the crisped potatoes to a large bowl or baking dish. Toss with the gochugaru butter. Crumble your bacon and sprinkle it on. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with the kimchi dipping sauce.
And here's the whole thing in 45 seconds, if that's more your style: