Ah, the “Mashed Potato Martini”, the symbol of swanky 1990’s catering. A cocktail glass brimming with buttery mashed potatoes and topped with your choice of butter, sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese, chives and parsley. A pleasant, if somewhat excessive, relic of the dot-com era. But just as the excesses of dot-com left some valuable companies and technologies in their wake, the mashed potato martini left us with a valuable legacy, we got serious about making “perfect” mashed potatoes.
And by “perfect” we mean, tasty, easy and predictable. And a recipe that easily scales for large events. After a few years of intermittent experiments we developed this recipe / process and never looked back. The basics are simple, we use Yukon Gold potatoes and plenty of cream, butter and salt. And we have just a few techniques that make a big difference in texture. And, of course, we add a plenty of extra butter, bacon, cheese, etc. We just don’t believe in “light” or “healthy” mashers. We save that for kale dishes.
As for the ingredients, the main difference is using Yukon Gold instead of starchy Russet potatoes. The Yukons are a mix between waxy and starchy potatoes, and they have an overt “buttery” flavor. The big advantage of the Yukons is that they don’t dry out like Russets. So while you do need cream and butter, the Yukons add their own moisture without being watery. You get a creamy texture and pronounced potato flavor to match the dairy and salt. Good stuff.
As for the key techniques, they are also very easy, but important. Firstly, after you drain the potatoes, put them back in the hot pot and mash with the warm dairy. The hot pot dries out any extra water (you don’t want watery mashers). Secondly, only mash just enough with the masher and then move to folding with a spoon. Too much mashing makes for a gluey texture, better to have a few lumps. And finally, have extra butter and milk ready to mix into the mashers if they seem stiff or dry. And feel free to keep adding butter…hard to go wrong. Then adjust seasoning, serve with more butter on the side and you’re done. All in less than 30 minutes. Perfect.
And if you want to be “fancy” there are a few other steps you can take. If you just hate lumps, you can run the mashers through a fine mesh strainer to get a very smooth consistency (if you do this, you may as well add as much butter as you can- like a mousseline). And lastly, if you want to pull out the martini glasses and add a bunch of garnishes you may get a few extra smiles at the table. A slightly ridiculous, but also delicious, dish for the “holidaze”.
Easy, Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Notes Before You Start:
- Yukon Gold potatoes are widely available. Use the largest Yukons you can to save time on peeling.
- This recipe is for 4 – 6 as a side, but scales easily for larger groups.
What You Get: Like we said, perfect mashed potatoes.
What You Need: A potato masher, or a ricer. But the masher is the best tool for this recipe.
How Long? About 30 minutes, with 10 minutes of active time. This is an anytime dish.
(Serves 4 -6 as a side)
- 1 and 1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons butter (keep more in reserve)
- 1 tablespoon whole milk (keep more in reserve)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Garnishes like butter, sour cream, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, chives, etc.
- Place the potatoes on a medium, lidded pot. Cover with water, add the teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the potatoes.
- Meanwhile, add the cream, butter and milk to a small saucepan and warm over low heat.
- When the potatoes are done, remove the pot from the heat. Drain the water from the potatoes and then place the potatoes back into the warm pot. Add in the warmed cream, butter and milk and mash / mix with the masher. Mash just enough until most lumps are gone. Then gently fold with a spoon to complete mixing the potatoes and dairy. Taste and adjust for seasoning and texture. If too dry, gently fold in more butter and small dashes of milk. Serve with butter and your choice of garnishes.
- How To Make the Best Mashed Potatoes – Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn (thekitchn.com)
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- THANKSGIVING 8 Days to go – HEALTHY Mashed Potatoes and still the BEST (pbenjay.wordpress.com)
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- Mashed Potatoes – Three Ways! (averagebetty.com)