I've always struggled with mashed potatoes. Not eating them. Making them. Not being able to master the perfectly smooth and creamy mashed potatoes, I went with the lazy man's 'smashed potato'... a world without peeling, where lumps are welcome, expected and encouraged. They're good. They do the job - but they often need jazzing up - garlic, sour cream, rosemary, etc. to detract from the fact that they are basically a busted up potato and lack any desirable texture.
"Real" mashed potatoes, with their smooth, creamy and light-as-air texture need nothing. No sour cream, no cheese, no herbs. Simple. If it has been a while since you have had "real" mashed potatoes, you may not even know what I'm talking about. You might be thinking, "but the cheese, garlic and sour cream are what make mashed potatoes so good." Silly girl. Real mashed potatoes are right up there with heirloom tomatoes and small summer strawberries. Natural. Real. Simple. Nothing but a splash of milk, dab of butter, salt and pepper.
Potato Ricer. For years I've heard the Barefoot Contessa talk about using her potato ricer. I thought, "Do I really need a specialized piece of equipment to mash a potato?!" (Remember, you're talking to someone that rolled out 100 sugar cookies a week with a bottle of wine and that used a teacup for measuring...) When he saw me mashing potatoes with a can, Mike said, Yes. Yes, you do need a specialized piece of equipment to mash a potato. Then the most amazing thing happened... a potato ricer appeared in my stocking from Santa.
We've had mashed potatoes 3 times in the past 9 days.
Now run out and get this mashed potato ricer. It is on sale for $16 at Williams-Sonoma... Mike paid full price ($32) for mine. Ugh. Still worth every penny.
The Best Mashed Potatoes
creamy, light... real mashed potatoes
2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of butter
sea salt & cracked pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Place them pot filled with water, seasoned with salt. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender - about 7-10 minutes. Drain the potatoes from the water. Using the potato ricer, mash potatoes back into the sauce pan. Return the potatoes to the stove. On low heat, stir in milk, butter, salt and pepper. Do not leave the potatoes on the stove for longer than 5 minutes, or they will burn. To reheat, microwave them in a glass bowl.
Mashed Potatoes go great with :
Pan-Seared Lemon Garlic Chicken
Pancetta Sugar Snap Peas (coming soon!)