Crispy, Garlicky Smashed Potatoes with Gremolata – Recipe

Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Gremolata 2

A whole head of garlic.

This is one of those recipes you can become famous for with your friends and family. It is very easy to make, you just have to have the nerve to use a whole head of fresh garlic and plenty of good olive oil, and the patience to roast the potatoes until the skins crisp up. Check the oven frequently to make sure you aren’t burning the garlic.

Tom Douglas serves something similar to this as a side at his Greek-inspired Lola. The gremolata is my own little twist.

Gremolata is a simple condiment of finely minced parsley, lemon zest and usually garlic. It is traditionally served with osso bucco. Clearly we don’t need any extra garlic on these potatoes though! The heat from the potatoes causes the gremolata give off a heady, appetizing aroma that adds just the right high note.

Crispy, Garlicky Smashed Potatoes with Gremolata
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
Serves 6

  • 5 pounds small (golf-ball sized) waxy potatoes, any color
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and finely minced – not crushed
  • Kosher salt
  • big handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a pot with enough cold water to cover them and 2 tablespoons of salt. Put the pot over maximum heat, bring to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Put the potatoes on a sheet pan and bake in the oven until fork tender. Remove the sheet from the oven and smash each potato fairly agressively, so that it flattens out some and develops big cracks, but doesn’t totally mash. The bottom of a coffee mug works well for this.
  3. In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Spoon the garlic and oil over the potatoes, distributing as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Return the tray to the oven, raise heat to 500, and cook until the skins are crispy in many spots. This will take at least 20 minutes.
  5. Mince the parsley and lemon zest together to make the gremolata. Put the potatoes in a serving bowl, being sure to gather up all the crispy bits garlic. Sprinkle the gremolata over the top, add a generous amount of flaky sea salt and serve immediately.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

18 Responses to “Crispy, Garlicky Smashed Potatoes with Gremolata – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    February 22, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    This garnered an immediate bookmark!

  2. Reply
    February 22, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    I’m making this tonight. Thank you.

  3. Reply
    February 22, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Yum!!! garlic and potatoes!!! (would rosemary work here?)

  4. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    February 22, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Rosemary would work beautifully. I'd be inclined to really finely mince it and add it at the same point as the garlic, but you could also put a couple whole stems in with the potatoes and remove before serving.

  5. Reply
    February 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Potatoes with lots of garlic is the bomb. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Reply
    February 23, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Few things are better than creamy potatoes loaded with garlic and herbs. Please pass the bowl this way. 😉

  7. Reply
    February 25, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    hi this looks great – but what is the purpose of boiling the potatoes before baking till fork tender? thank you!

  8. Reply
    February 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Looks good. I often use the chopped parsley/garlic combo, but I didn’t know the term Gremolata

  9. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    February 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Hey Dianna – good question – the idea is just to get them evenly heated through first, so that the oven time is mainly just about browning them. If you cook small potatoes on that high a temp in the oven, you'll likely have to overdo the outside to get the inside cooked.

  10. Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Your dishes look yum … loved the presentation of the food ! good work
    you can view some of my dishes on ! i would be really happy if you follow it 🙂

  11. Reply
    February 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Minced garlic in the oven at 500 degrees for 20 minutes (or even five) = nasty burned garlic. I’d advise sauteing the garlic in the oil, then spooning the oil over the potatoes while reserving the garlic, crisping, then topping with the sauteed garlic. After I scraped the burned garlic off my potatoes they were delicious though!

  12. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    February 27, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    Hmm. I haven't had that problem, as you can see from the picture. But maybe you took the potatoes farther towards crispy than I did, which can be delicious as well – in which case I could see that burning garlic could be an issue. I like the garlic to turn into crisp bits, but not burned, for sure. In any event, thanks for the feedback!

  13. Reply
    February 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Like many comments have already said I think garlic and potatoes are an amazing combination and I think I would throw some rosemary in their too. Sounds delicious!

  14. Reply
    February 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Mmmm, garlic! Potatoes! We’re featuring side dishes at the M&T Spotlight and I’d love for you to submit this. link to

  15. Reply
    March 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I can almost taste the crisp in that picture!

    Why is it important to mince and not crush the garlic?


    Great piece about Dirt Candy btw!
    Marty’s Flying Vegan Review

  16. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    March 14, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    Hey Marty – you could crush it if you like, it just might be a little more difficult to distribute, and would likely have a stronger flavor (not a bad thing!).

  17. Reply
    April 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    This is amazing! I’ve made these potatoes twice now and both times have resulted in a crispy skin with a smooth center and a lemon and garlic punch. Thank you so much for sharing.

  18. Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    You had me at “A whole head of garlic” — this looks amazing!

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