Monday, November 7, 2011

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Good ol' mashed potatoes. Everyone knows how to make them, so why am I bothering to post the recipe? Because I want to show you how to make restaurant style mashed potatoes at home. There are a few things that separate the mash potatoes that most people make for themselves at home from what you would be served at a French bistro or steakhouse. First there is the ingredients. Restaurants tend to load their mashed potatoes with what most people would consider an inordinate amount of butter. The reason they do this is because a large amount of butter will both make the mash potatoes really flavorful and also give it a luxurious, melting texture. I use a small amount of bay leaf and nutmeg too. Not so much that you can taste that they are there, just enough to make the potatoes taste, well, more potatoey. Adding roasted garlic will take your mash to the next level.
   The other difference is technique. There are a few little tricks to making killer mash potatoes that might not seem that important on their own, but added up will make all the difference in the finished product. For example, temperature is an important factor. While the potatoes are still warm, add milk & cream hot, but the butter should be cold. This will keep the purée smooth. Also, I add salt at three different occasions along the way - to the water the potatoes are boiled in, to the cream and milk as I heat them and once more to the purée as I am mixing all the ingredients together. That way the mash will have a consistent seasoning and a richer depth of flavor than had I simply added salt only at the end.

Prep time 10 minutes. Cooking time 20 minutes. Serves 6

   2 lbs  (900g )  Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup (120ml)  35% cream
1/3 cup (80ml)    milk
1/2 cup (110g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
3 bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 head garlic
1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped
olive oil, salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350F
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large even sized pieces. Place in a saucepan and cover with water and add one tablespoon of salt & 3 bay leaves. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the potatoes can be easily crushed with a spoon, about 20 minutes.
2. Cut the top off the head of garlic, just enough to expose the cloves inside. Place on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Wrap the garlic in the foil and roast in the oven until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze the soft garlic out of the skin and then mash with the side of a knife.
3. In a saucepan, bring the milk & cream to a boil. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of salt, then remove from the heat.
4. Strain the boiled potatoes and then pass through a potato ricer or purée with a potato masher. Add the cold butter and slowly add the hot milk & cream, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the roasted garlic. Garnish with fresh chives.




8 comments:

  1. Interesting insight into making magnificent mash potatoes. It took until the end paragraph, but I knew salt was going to play a major part in the preparation. After all, salt is the engine of flavor.

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  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. You're right that something as simple as salt is so important. Adding salt at each step along the way is important in all recipes, not just mashed potatoes! It is especially important in making soups and sauces too.

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  3. Well I knew room temperature eggs were easier to work with, but I didn't know adding salt along the way was important to the end result of whatever it may be. Thanks!

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