Sunday, August 13, 2006
Mashed Potato Maker?
Now I've seen everything. Westinghouse seems to think that there's a need for an appliance whose sole purpose is to steam and then mash vegetables. Or, perhaps they found there really isn't a need because it's being sold for $19.99 on Smart Bargains. No wonder.
If you'd like to make fantastic mashed potatoes, don't bother buying fancy mixers or mashers. Just buy a basic hand masher, like this one at Sur La Table.
Choose good quality potatoes. I like Newman's Own Organic. Both the Russet and the Red potatoes have excellent flavor and texture when mashed. After peeling the potatoes, cut them into equal sized cubes or slices so they cook evenly and at the same rate. Then cover them with cold water in a saucepan. Salt generously with kosher salt. One teapsoon for every two potatoes should be a good ratio. We usually make 4 potatoes and use 2 teaspoons kosher salt. You can add more if needed during the mashing process.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well and return to pot. Place on very low heat with lid off and allow excess moisture to evaporate while mashing by hand. Add as little or as much butter as you like. We use a little extra butter for special occasions, but normally use just a couple of pats on a weeknight. Just make sure you're using REAL butter. After the butter is incorporated, add milk as needed and mix in until the potato mixture is fluffy and lump-free, that is unless you like nurdles, as they are called in our house. Salt to taste and add freshly ground white pepper as desired. Most importantly, and because it seems everyone is particular about how they like their mashers, practice this recipe a few times so you can tweak it and make them just as you like them. You'll find you can easily make your favorite mashed potatoes without any fancy contraptions.