photographs by Matt Hulsman

Smashed Roasted Potatoes with Horseradish Sauce
Yield: 4 servings.

1 pound honey gold, baby Dutch, or red potatoes
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or olive oil
Coarse or flaked salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 (2-inch) fresh rosemary sprig, finely chopped

For the horseradish sauce:
2 tablespoons freshly ground horseradish
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°. Place potatoes in a heavy pot and cover with water. Bring potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Drain potatoes and place on a rimmed sheet pan.

Use the flat bottom of a glass or other 3- to 4-inch-wide flat surface to smash potatoes to about ½-inch thick. Drizzle bacon drippings or olive oil over potatoes to coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes.

Turn potatoes over and return them to the hot oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley and rosemary.

For the horseradish sauce, mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Potato & Fish Stew
Yield: 6 servings.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
3 cups seafood stock

1 cup water
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound cod, catfish, or halibut fillets, cut into chunks
1 cup whole milk

Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)
Celery leaves (for garnish)

Melt butter in a 5-quart stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until onion is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add green onions and stir.

Stir flour into the vegetable mixture until vegetables are evenly coated. Pour clam juice, stock, and water into the saucepan; whisk until smooth. Add potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and cayenne pepper to the mixture. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook at a simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Place fish into the soup. Cover soup pot and cook until fish is flaky, about 8 minutes, depending on type of fish used.

Pour milk into the soup and stir. Simmer soup until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove bay leaf to serve. Add hot sauce, if desired, and garnish with celery leaves.


Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes with Fried Onions
Yield: 12 servings.

4 pounds baking potatoes, washed, peeled, and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded Gruyère (about 5½ ounces)
1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 bay leaf
¾ cup grated Parmesan

For the fried onion topping:
1 onion, sliced very thin
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 to 2 quarts canola oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes to boiling water, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 15 to 25 minutes or until they are not quite tender. Drain and set aside until potatoes are cool enough to handle.

In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, mustard, and nutmeg, stirring about 2 minutes longer, until fragrant. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and place it on a baking sheet.

Add Gruyère, Cheddar, cream cheese, salt, and pepper to onion mixture and stir until well combined.

Slice potatoes ¼-inch thick. Arrange a third of the potatoes in baking dish, overlapping so there are no gaps, and spread with a third of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering twice, finishing with cheese. Pour heavy cream over potatoes and place bay leaf on top. Bake until cream is mostly absorbed and top is golden brown and bubbling, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until Parmesan is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with fried onions.

For the fried onion topping: Place sliced onions in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk. Soak for at least an hour. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil to 375°. Place a handful of onions in flour mixture to coat. Place coated onions in a frying basket, or use tongs, and tap to shake off excess flour. Place onions into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown. Place fried onions on a wire cooling rack over paper towels to drain. Repeat until all onions are fried.


Sweet Potato Soufflé
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter, plus more for soufflé dish
Sugar, for soufflé dish
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup whole milk
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked
3 large eggs, room temperature, separated
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fresh orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter a 1½-quart soufflé dish; dust with sugar.

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk; simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat; mix in sweet potatoes and egg yolks. Stir in maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange zest. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Whisk ¼ of whites into sweet potato mixture; using a rubber spatula, gently fold in remaining whites. Pour mixture into prepared dish; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until top rises and is puffed, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve immediately, with whipped cream, if desired.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.

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