Well, today I'm feeling guilty for putting so many chocolate recipes on here for you, so I'm giving you one of the all-time favorite comfort foods that IS very good for you--potatoes. There are so many different kinds of potatoes, which is a subject I won't go into. But I think these recipes and ideas will give you some ways to change up the potato dish which you serve so often. Americans are lovers of potatoes, but it never hurts to give a little different dash of flavor to an old favorite.
The Ultimate Mashed Potatoes
Makes 6 servings. Working time 10 minutes. Total time 40 minutes.
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 1/2- inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup half-and-half, heated
- In a large pot, cover potatoes with salted water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.
- Drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander and return to the pot. Add melted butter and, using a potato masher, mash potatoes to desired consistency. (For a smoother texture, pass potatoes through a ricer instead.)
- Stir in half-and-half and 1 teaspoon salt to combine and until potatoes are creamy. Do not overstir or potatoes will become gluey. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. To punch up this classic dish with savory add-ins, see below.
Five Scrumptious Mashed-Potato Variations
- Fried Shallots and Creme Fraiche: In a medium skilled over medium-high heat, heat 4 tablespoons oil. Fry 3 large, sliced shallots until browned and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. (Discard any shallots that over-brown.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Stir shallots and 1/3 cup creme fraiche (if you can't find creme fraiche, use sour cream) into the mashed potatoes.
- Prosciutto, Parmesan, and Parsley: Stir 3 ounces prosciutto, cooked and chopped; 6 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (which is the very best, but you can use any Parmesan cheese) and 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley into the mashed potatoes.
- Horseradish, Sour Cream, and Freshly Ground Pepper: Stir 1/2 cup finely grated fresh horseradish, 1/2 cup sour cream, and freshly ground pepper to taste into the mashed potatoes.
- Roquefort, Toasted Walnuts, and Sage: Stir 4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled; 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted; and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage into the mashed potatoes.
- Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms, Sherry, Dry Mustard, Heavy Cream, and Marjoram: In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. Saute 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sweet sherry and cook until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves. Cook until cream begins to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir mushroom-cream mixture into the mashed potatoes.
This is enough for you to think about today! There are many recipes for delicious potato dishes, and tomorrow I'll share aother mashed potato recipe: Garlic Mashed Potatoes. But for now, I hope you'll try some of these new ways of adding flavors to one of our favorite foods.
It's the middle of the week, so we're flying along pretty well. So now I hope you'll plan a nice dinner for the family that includes at least one of these delicious potato recipes. It's a whole new world for me, and I bet it's a whole new world for you too!