Recipe: Crushed New Potatoes

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Crème fraiche, chives, salt, and pepper are perfect, simple flavorings for crushed new potatoes. The addition of cracked coriander elevates the dish into something truly memorable.

Makes 4 servings.

    • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes or fingerlings, scrubbed
    • Kosher salt
    • Fine, flaky sea salt or fleur de sel
    • 1/2 cup crème fraiche
    • 2 tablespoons sweet butter
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
    • 1 tablespoon toasted, cracked coriander seed (optional; remove if you absolutely don't have or like coriander)

Place the potatoes in a large pot with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon per quart). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to moderate, and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, transfer the potatoes to a warmed, shallow casserole dish.

With a fork or potato masher, crush the potatoes gently just enough to split them open. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Stir the crème fraiche until smooth and spoon unevenly over the potatoes. Cut butter into small pieces and sprinkle over the potatoes. Scatter the chives and over the top, sprinkle with more salt and freshly ground pepper. If desired, sprinkle with the coriander seed.

To toast and crack coriander seeds, scatter the coriander seeds over the bottom of a small skillet. Toast over moderately low heat, shaking the pan frequently for 3 or 4 minutes, until you just get a whiff of their fragrance. Place a sheet of paper towel on the work surface and pour the seeds onto it. Use the side of a chef's knife or the flat bottom of a heavy glass to press down on the seeds to crush them. Carefully tilt the crushed seeds into a small bowl.

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
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