The Charred Ingredient Rachael Ray Uses To Elevate Smashed Potatoes

TV host Rachael Ray
TV host Rachael Ray - Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Food personality Rachael Ray has built her culinary empire on showing people how to make good food fast. She is especially well known for her easy and tasty recipes, which she has showcased on her TV talk show, in her magazine, and on social media. More than 16 million people have checked out one of her most popular dishes on TikTok. She calls it crispy lemon potatoes, and it's basically her take on smashed potatoes with a twist.

Other recipes for lemony smashed potatoes rely on this popular citrus fruit, but they use fresh lemon juice. Ray, however, takes the dish one step further by pulling out a great cooking hack to create a more complex flavor than you would get with just freshly squeezed lemon. Many cooks know that if you grill or char a lemon you can add some smokiness as well as acidity to any meal. The use of charred lemon really helps take Ray's smashed potatoes to the next level.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

Charred Lemon Brings Great Flavor To Any Dish

Charred lemon slices
Charred lemon slices - Stephanie Connell/Getty Images

In her video, it looks like Ray has charred the lemon in a cast iron pan. This is an interesting choice since it's usually recommended not to cook acidic foods in cast iron. The idea is that the acid in the foods may erode the pan's seasoning and leave your dish tasting a bit metallic. Fortunately there are many different ways to char or grill a lemon.

Start by cutting your lemons in half across the width of the fruit. You can cook them on a grill if you have one handy or in a grill pan, but using your oven's broiler may be even easier and faster. Just place your lemon halves cut side up on a baking sheet and broil them until they are nicely charred. It should take about 10 minutes or so. You can also sprinkle some sugar on them to help with the caramelization. Let the lemons cool down a bit before squeezing them over your potatoes.

Making Great Smashed Potatoes

Smashed potatoes
Smashed potatoes - Iko636/Getty Images

Besides the charred lemon hack, there are other ways to make sure your lemon smashed potatoes turn out great every time. The dish starts with small potatoes so make sure that you've got ones of similar size so that they cook evenly. Remember to parboil them before roasting. Once the potatoes have cooked for about 10 to 20 minutes, it's time to actually smash the potatoes. You can press down on the potatoes to give them that distinctive flattened shape with a glass, a mug, or even a frying pan. You're going to want to coat them with your favorite oil before putting the flattened potatoes in the oven.

When roasting, one great trick is to use a baking sheet that has been preheated in the oven. That means the potatoes start forming crispy edges as soon as they hit the pan. And don't be afraid to season your potatoes well. While the classic duo of salt and pepper is a given for a dish like this, you should feel free to experiment by adding other flavors, too. Some dried oregano could take the dish in a Greek direction. Chile powder would add some heat to the potatoes, giving another dimension to their flavor.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.