Taste Trailblazers: Chef Francis Mallmann x Laphroaig

Papas Aplastadas Plancha / Smashed Potatoes with Criolla Sauce By Chef Francis Mallmann

One of Francis Mallmann’s longtime signature dishes, the recipe below serves 4.

For reference, a plancha is a type of flat-top grill used for cooking, composed of a thick plate of metal above the heating element to provide thermal mass and eliminate hot spots.


  • 4 medium Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan and plancha
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or more as needed, cut into pieces (optional)
  • Fleur de selDirections:Prepare a fire for medium-high heat and warm the plancha. (Or pull out a large cast-iron griddle if cooking indoors.)

    Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pot, cover them with plenty of cold water, and salt the water. Add the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the bay leaf, and the peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the potatoes bubble gently for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender all the way through when pierced with a skewer. Drain in a colander and set aside until cool enough to handle, but don’t allow them to thoroughly cool or they will break instead of smash.

    Oil a sheet pan. Place a warm potato on a clean dish towel on a flat work surface. Cover with another clean dish towel. With the palm of your hand, slowly and evenly flatten the potato between the towels. Using a wide, sharp-edged spatula, transfer the potato to the prepared sheet and repeat with the remaining potatoes. Spoon the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil evenly over the potatoes.

    Brush the hot plancha or skillet with olive oil (if cooking indoors, heat the griddle over medium-high heat, then brush with oil). When the oil shimmers, carefully flip the potatoes onto the surface, oiled side down, and cook without moving them until the bottom is crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer back to the oiled sheet pan and brush the tops with olive oil.

    Brush the hot plancha or griddle with more oil. Slide the spatula under a crisped potato and, with one quick move, flip the potato onto the plancha to cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, moving them as little as possible as they cook. At this point, you can drizzle more oil or add dots of butter around the potatoes to help the crisping. It should take 5 to 7 minutes to get them nice and crisp. As they are done, flip them back over onto a serving platter, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and serve immediately.

Salsa Criolla

Criollo refers to Argentines of Spanish or southern European heritage who have developed their own distinct outlook and style. The term criollo is used in cuisine for recipes made with fresh chopped tomato, and often with onion. Serve with roast chicken, grilled vegetables, and white-fleshed fish. This recipe makes about 2 cups.


  • 1 large red bell pepper, about 8 ounces
  • 1 large red onion, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oilDirections:Cut the pepper lengthwise in half and remove the stem and seeds. With a very sharp knife, remove all the white pith. Slice into very fine strips, then mince very fine. Transfer to a medium bowl.

    Add the minced onion to the peppers and mix well. Stir in the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil to combine; it should cover the minced onion and pepper. Allow to stand for at least 30 minutes to blend the flavors. The salsa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.