Monday, January 15, 2007

Making Smashed Potatoes ... Which potato is the best?

Todd B. from Glen Ellyn sent me an e-mail asking which potato was the best to make mashed - I prefer to call them smashed - potatoes?

Guess what? There is no one ideal, perfect recipe to make smashed potatoes ... just a bunch of different recipes and personal preferences.

The key ingredient is the potato ... there are ones that are high in startch (russets and Yukon Gold), and there are less starchy ones like the round white ones and waxy potatoes. My preference is the high starch potatoes because the more starch, the fuller the actual cells of the potato resulting in a fluffier texture. I think they tend to be creamier than other potatoes, too.

On the other hand, some chefs I've talked with like to you use the low starch potatoes because they absorb less water and hold up better when cooking. They also think they have more flavor and less "starchy" taste.

So, there's really no right or wrong answer, Todd.

One thing I do is not to peel the potatoes before I boil them. I like the rough appearance of the smashed potatoes and the skins give a contrasting texture and mouthfeel against to the creamy potato. My favorite ingredients to add is unsalted butter (lots of it), kosher salt (not table salt), freshly cracked pepper (I toasted my peppercorns first and then add them to my peppermill, which gives them added flavor and aroma), and whole milk (don't use 1% or 2% milk ... you might as well just add water).

Hope this helps. If you have any food questions, send them to me and I find an answer.

Happy Eating! Mr. Foodie