After writing a little about making broths and sauces and all sorts of nice, warm, comforting autumn things, it seemed natural, at least for this simple soul, to turn to the best accompaniment for a good sauce. No, not roasting beef, lamb or pork but its best companion the humble mashed potato.
But in our world of celebrities, cheffified, artisanal and cunning. Is he still so humble?
Well, let me nail my colors firmly to the mast before we begin. In my humble opinion, it is never humble. A nice bowl of creamy mash, made with the right tater and too much butter and cream for the food police stands on its own as the best comfort food (add the sauce and it becomes the Usain Bolt of the 100-meter Olympic Games final of comfort food). winner by a mile). Then, suddenly, from a simple mashed question we open all sorts of sub-questions:
What is mashed potatoes? Is it a good British mash made with a shredder and a butter knob and a weird lump? French pomme puree with obscene amounts of butter but the silky texture of a dark maiden thigh (obviously I don’t mix with the right maidens because that analogy squats me)? Or, Of course, the good old modernist crushed potato?
Which potato to use? Well, for British mash I would say a mealy potato like a Maris Piper or a Russett or a King Ted’s. You’re not adding a lot of sensual flavors, so the mealy potato gives a nice, open, grainy texture. Pomme puree? The king is the Ratte. Aptly named because since monsiuer Celeb Chef found it, you have a great chance of getting some. Otherwise, any waxy potato like a Charlotte will do. You want a waxy one, as it absorbs the flavors better and with 400 g of butter per 1 kg of potato that is somewhat absorbent. Word of warning. You have very little margin for error with a waxy potato and mash before serving something I used to use to glue my blue Peter Tracy island. Or for those under 30 who won’t have a clue what I’m talking about… tail. Crushed? It doesn’t matter as long as they taste like a potato. For Christ’s sake, Mr. Ramsay, put them on my plate whole. I can use the back of a fork as well as you do and make it £5 cheaper.
How do we puree? British. A good hand crusher. A quid each of any hardware store. Pomme puree? A ricer for the initial puree before adding the butter so that it does not get the glue effect. Then, after adding the butter and all the hard work, a very fine sieve and more hard work to get the texture of the ragweed (NOT rice pudding!) Crushed? Back of a fork.
Finally, what do we add? British. Butter, salt and pepper knob. But there are countless additions to our base puree that have been around for years. Neep puree, Irish Champ, more like pomme puree in texture if you use as much butter as Irish, and more recently, cheese puree. Pomme puree? 250 g of butter per 500 g of potato and a little whole milk for a good measure. Crushed? I’m limited to 10,000 words per post, but if you think of anything except kitchen floor sweeps, you won’t be a million miles away. Actually, if you add them to your reach as well, you’ll be right about the money.
So for Lemmy and me, we tend to fall somewhere between the British and French camps. He likes all things in a state as raw as possible (fish, meat, bones. Why she even likes to grind her own coffee beans, but there I recognize that not all, certainly not me, have teeth like hers), with few additions. Enough butter for us to try, but still with potato the dominant flavor. Enough milk to give a pleasant texture. God forbid, even a little sea salt! As with all things, balance or moderation is key. A flavor that never dominates. It used to be called being able to cook.
potato? They vary widely during the season, so I use what’s good at the time. But I tend to err on the mealy side.
method? I grind gently until there are no lumps with a crusher, add butter and then pass through a sieve and add milk and garnishments.
So here it is, my perfect, for Lemmy and me, mashed potatoes.
1 kg Floury potatoes. 100g salted butter in 10mm cubes at room temperature 100ml warm milk Salt
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into 25mm slices. They should be the same size so that they are all ready together. (You can store the peels and boil them in a pan for 40 minutes and then use the resulting water to cook the Heston Bloominheck potatoes if you don’t have a job and the gift of immortality.)
- Cover with water and add a large pinch of salt and then simmer. Cook until you can put a skewer or the tip of a knife through half a slice, usually about 20-30 minutes.
- Drain in a strainer and then leave on for 3 or 4 minutes to let some steam out. This is important, steam is water and you don’t want too much in a nice, fluffy puree.
- Put back in the pan and gently mash with a crusher or use a potato ricer to get a smooth mash.
- Add the butter and stir gently with a wooden spoon or spatula until incorporated.
- Push through a thin nylon sieve and add warm milk to taste. Warm milk will absorb more easily and will not cool your puree.
- Add any other aroma.
You can keep it warm in a bowl over a pot of simmering water for a few hours or even freeze it in bathtubs.