Top Smashed Potatoes With Charred Lemon Juice For A Zesty Upgrade

A bowl of golden crispy-edged smashed potatoes is textural nirvana for those who crave meals with a satisfying, savory crunch. Made by smashing cooked spuds onto a baking tray and roasting them until crisp with seasonings and oil, these carby caboodles are moreishly good. However, that isn't to say there isn't room for improvement — for a zesty little upgrade to your next batch of smashed taters, top them with charred lemon juice. This simple addition will lend your spuds an unmatched smoky aroma and zingy flavor.

Charring lemons subdues their harsh acidity, making their juice taste mellower while retaining its classic zingy brightness. Warming them up on a griddle also makes them release their juice more readily. Adding charred lemon juice to your smashed potatoes lifts and lightens the characteristically buttery texture of Yukon golds, lending them a balanced taste. Secondly, it cuts through the heaviness of an oil-based dressing creating a citrusy vinaigrette with a bright but smoky vibe. And finally, the lemon juice adds a touch of moisture to the crispy surface of the crunchy taters, creating little pockets of smoky and sour flavor. 

To char your lemons on a grill or skillet begin by halving them, removing their bitter seeds, and brushing the cut sides with flavorless oil. Then place them cut side down on your preheated grill or frying pan.

Press lemons down to help them char faster

Avoid moving the lemons around as they cook so they quickly develop some caramelization on their surface as their natural sugars heat up (however, you can press your citrus fruits down with the back of a spatula to encourage them to char). If you want to broil your lemons, cut their ends off first. Then halve them so the fruits can sit flat on a baking sheet with the cut side up towards the heat of the broiler. 

Once the lemons have taken on some color and a charred aroma, they're ready to be juiced directly over your taters or mixed into a dressing. Serve your smashed lemony potatoes alongside baked salmon to cut through the fattiness of the flakes of coral-colored fish or arrange them on a platter with a selection of dips at a dinner party. You could even tumble your lemony potatoes into a mayo and yogurt-based dressing to make a fancy version of a potato salad that has oodles of texture and character. 

If you don't have any lemons on hand, you can make a similar-flavored charred juice using limes. The process is the same and the smoky juice from the limes will lend your smashed potatoes a savory but refreshing note. Any leftovers can become part of a charred mojito cocktail or a frozen margarita with a difference.