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Cracked Potatoes with Vermouth, Coriander and Fennel

4 Servings

35 minutes 10 minutes active

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As much as we like them, crispy, smashed potatoes are a bother. First you boil, then flatten, then crisp in fat. And half the time our potatoes fall apart. We wanted a one-stroke solution, which we found in potatoes afelia, a Cypriot dish that calls for cracking the potatoes when raw, then braising them. Our starting point was a recipe from London chefs Sam and Sam Clark of Moro. They whack raw potatoes, causing them to split and fracture slightly, but not break apart. Next, they cook them in a covered pan with oil and coriander seeds, a traditional afelia flavoring. Red wine, added at the end, simmers into a flavorful sauce. For our version, we preferred the clean, herbal flavor of dry vermouth to red wine.




Don’t use a skillet with an ill-fitting lid. The pan might scorch. If it looks dry, add water 2 tablespoons at a time.

35 minutes

10 minutes active


  • pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes (1½ to 2 inches in diameter)

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


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Chris l.
August 13, 2023
Completely new flavor
I moved to the 'burbs a few years ago and find myself cooking for flavors I cannot find or introductions to completely new experiences. These potatoes, without question, are the latter. And good!
Dennis D.
November 14, 2022
Presentation Matters
The potatoes were quite good. However, we did not see your photo of the potatoes on the white plate, which provides a nice visual contrast. Our darkish serving bowls did not do this dish justice. Eye appeal does matter, and I will pay better attention next time.
Julie K.
September 5, 2022
Deep flavors, richness in cooking potatoes so long in the pan
Manal S.

Would a sherry vinegar work as a substitute for vermouth? Looking for a non-alcoholic substitute that won't compromise the flavor, if that exists for this recipe.

Lynn C.

Hi Manal -

I would probably not use a whole cup of sherry vinegar, but instead do a combination of chicken broth and a tablespoon or two of sherry vinegar. Since the liquid gets reduced it might otherwise be too acidic. Good luck!

The Milk Street Team