2 dozen small potatoes, red or yellow, all around the same size
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional topping suggestions:
Sour cream and chopped chives
Minced fresh herbs such as thyme, basil or rosemary
Finely grated parmigiana cheese and finely minced parsley
Chopped crisp bacon
Olive oil, minced garlic and smoked paprika
A rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper
A pastry brush is helpful
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. You’ll need two clean dish towels.
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by an inch or two. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook at a steady simmer for about 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender enough to be easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain and quickly move to the next step while the potatoes are still hot.
Lay one dish towel across your work surface. Place a few potatoes at a time on the towel. Place a corner of the other dish towel over one potato and press down gently but firmly with the heel of your hand, to flatten the potato to about 1/2 inch. Move to the next potato. When you’ve flattened one batch, transfer them carefully to the parchment-lines baking pan, using a spatula. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes. Let the potatoes come to room temperature before continuing. If you want to make this recipe ahead, you can stop here and cover the the baking pan with foil or plastic wrap and set in the fridge over night. Pull them out of the fridge, remove the covering and continue to the next step.
Brush olive oil evenly over the potatoes, lifting each one slightly to brush some oil underneath. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with salt. Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 20-25 minutes, until they’re crisp and brown around the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve as is or with additional toppings.