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Alternative Ingredients are listed in Red
|(any waxy potato that is basically round)*|
|4||cups||Grated Cheese (see narrative)|
|Salt & Pepper to taste|
You want your potatoes to be round for the most part. Irregular shapes will not smash uniformly and may cause problems with them falling apart. Although, fingerling potatoes, being waxy, may still work well enough if you wish to be a little more "designer" with oblong potatoes. Starchy potatoes, like russets, aren't as likely to stick together as much.
Scrub potatoes. Place in a shallow pan with ¼ to ½ inch of standing water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 450º oven for 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from pan and smash flat to about ½ inch thick with something flat that is at least as large as the smashed potatoes will become. (I have used a coffee mug, large tuna can and a solid metal spatula with success) Smash them slowly, taking care to keep them in one piece.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Divide the butter into eighths, one for each side of each smashed potato. You want to brown them slowly to get that crisp, golden brown crust without burning the butter. As soon as you flip them, place one quarter of the pressed or chopped garlic on each potato and top with cheese so it will start melting. The recipe calls for simply "4 measures of cheese" because you can use whatever cheese you like. Suggestions include, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Feta, Jack, Ricotta, Parmesano, etc.
Garnish with the onion. Cut roots and half the green off the scallion onions and slice thinly, or chop shallots finely and divide into fourths for each potato. Serve hot.
*A waxy "boiling" potato is the best to use. Most others will separate and/or crumble when "smashed".