Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that means that someone in your family is going to be tasked with making mashed potatoes. With a little science and some practical tips, I'll help you make the best mashed potatoes you've ever had!
Surely, we’ve all seen the words "starchy" and "waxy" used to describe potatoes in bins. Or perhaps you’ve been baffled by the use of those words in recipes as you prepare for Thanksgiving or Christmas. All potatoes are not created equally. The semantic distinction is significant, and it is worth understanding how a potato is built in order to affect your cooking.
Taking cue from the effortless Hasselback Potato, I decided to fill a casserole dish with sliced red skinned potatoes and scatter their in-betweens with a confetti of leek. With a generous pour of olive oil on top the dish crisps up in your oven and transfers to the table perfectly for an easy side dish.
- 5 medium Red Skinned of Yukon Potatoes, sliced very thinly
- 1 large leek (~1 pound), sliced into slim ribbons
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Generous sprinkling Salt and Pepper
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Fill a 9x13 casserole dish with the sliced potatoes, standing in line from front to back (not stacked on top of each other).
- Scatter the ribboned leek everywhere and push it down in between the potatoes.
- Pour olive oil on top of everything, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- Bake the dish for 45-60 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- Heat your oven to 500 degrees, or turn on your broiler. Slide the dish under the high heat for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp on top.
- Remove and serve.
Beginning with an Indian inspiration I tore the insides from mental samosas and packed them into a casserole dish. The result is a tray of scoopable, spiced, tender, and crusty potatoes, perfect as the bed for some fried eggs. I add a lot of peas to my potato mixture, feel free to adjust the proportion should you be pea-averse.
4 large Yukon Gold Potatoes (~2 lbs)
1 tablespoon White Vineger
1/3 cup Olive Oil
2 Serrano Chilies, minced (~2 tbs)
5 cloves Garlic, minced (~1 1/2 tbs)
3 inches Ginger, chopped (~3 tbs)
1 tablespoon Black Mustard Seed
1 tablespoon Amchur
2 1/2 teaspoons Whole Cumin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Fennel Powder
2 cups frozen Green Peas
- Chop the potatoes into roughly 2 inch pieces.
- Place them in a large saute pan and cover with two cups of water. Add the vinegar.
- Cover the pan and bring to a simmer, cook at a medium temp for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender but have not lost their shape completely.
- Drain the potatoes and partially mash in a large bowl.
- Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.
- When the oil is hot, toss in the serrano chilies, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. Saute till light brown.
- Throw in all the remaining spices.
- Add the semi-mashed potatoes, stir everything to distribute the spices.
- Add the frozen peas.
- Spoon potato mixture into casserole dish and drizzle olive oil on top. Slide into the oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes to crisp up the top.
This date night meal needed some heft (I intend to put my dear friend into a food coma) and what adds more power to a meal than the humble potato? Boiled, smashed, and pan fried, this potato has everything: a tender center, a crisp skin, salt, garlic. It was only missing one thing: intrigue. Enter caraway. You think of it as the flavor of rye bread, and it's the perfect compliment to a smashed potato.
- 6 Red Skinned New Potatoes
- 1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
- Olive Oil for pan frying
- 1 head Garlic Cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon Whole Caraway Seeds
- Clean your potatoes and place them in a large stock pot. Cover them with cold water, until it is at least an inch above the potatoes. Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 35-40 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes from the water, drain them and let them cool. When they're cool enough to handle, use a heavy pan to press them down (or smash them) until they're relatively flat.
- In a wok or cast iron skillet, heat a good pour of olive oil. Add the garlic and sprinkle in some caraway seeds (judge the amount depending on how many batches of potatoes you'll be frying). Cook garlic and caraway until fragrant.
- Add potatoes (don't crowd the pan, maybe only two at a time) and fry until golden brown, then flip and cook again until golden.
- Remove from the pan and serve.