Break It Down: Mashed, Smashed Spring Sides

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A lot of our favorite spring sides come mashed — or smashed, depending on your word-choice preference. This week we’re zeroing in on a texture for side dishes that makes for good eating — and easy chewing.

Some mashed dishes entail a ricer or the back of your fork. Others are mashed in a more casual sense. All of these dishes, however, involve a certain level of deconstruction.

When it comes to smashed spring peas, try Rachael Ray Smashed Peas and Ricotta Cheese recipe, which uses a creamy, slightly sweet cheese.

This recipe is not mashed in its entirety, but it shows how mashed ingredients fit into bigger pictures. Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese by Giada De Laurentiis uses the pulverized pea for its creamy, filling and subtly sweet attributes. The spicy sausage counteracts the mild peas and cheese, creating a pasta side ready for any night of the week.

More likely than not, mention of anything mashed brings up the topic of potatoes. We’re focusing on new potatoes, in season from April to July, which mash to perfection with their skins on or off. Tyler Florence’s recipe for Smashed New Potatoes With Peas, Lemon and Pearl Onions is anything but one-dimensional, strewn with pearl onions and peas that pop. Along that same vein, Dave Lieberman’s Basil Chive Red Potato Mash leaves the skins on for texture — and minimal work — and adds freshness with the herbs. In Tyler Florence’s Chive and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (pictured at top), the oniony spring herb adds color and pep to year-round Yukon golds.

Masaharu Morimoto’s Mashed Tofu Salad (Shira-ae) for Food Network Magazine is perhaps the most unconventional of mashed sides on our list. The tofu is merged with fresh spinach leaves, as well as a bold sauce of mirin and soy sauce.

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We use the term “smashed” loosely in this last one. Grilled Salmon With Smashed Cucumber-Date Salad is a refreshing side of crushed cukes, sliced fennel, dates and walnuts. Wrap halved cucumbers in towels and smash them until the juices are released for an unexpected, fresh salad that jives wonderfully with grilled fish.

More mashed sides from friends and family:

Weelicious: Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes

Cooking With Elise: Savory Banana Corn Cakes

Virtually Homemade: Three-Onion Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mashed English Pea Spread on Garlic-Rubbed Bruschetta With Roasted Salmon

Red or Green?: Smashed Potato Tacos With Guacamole & Tomato Salsa

Devour: Easy Mashed Plantains Recipe

Domesticate Me: Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Goat Cheese

The Sensitive Epicure: Italian Style Smashed Potatoes

The Heritage Cook: Whipped Ginger-Cardamom Sweet Potatoes

Dishin & Dishes: Truffled Mashed Potatoes With Prosciutto and Rosemary