Everybody has their individual way of making mashed potato, from using different ingredients like milk, butter, cream and cheese, to standing by specific methods of preparing the spuds, which they believe will produce the best mash - boiled with skin intact, chopped and boiled with skin off, roasted on a bed of rock salt.
One rule, however, remains the same - Floury potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture and sugar, which gives them the perfect texture to be mashed. Varieties include: Desiree, Coliban, Royal Blue, Sebago, Nicola, Bison, Nadine, Kennebec, Saxon and Spunta.
Royal Blue Potatoes
This is my practical, fail-safe method of making the most velvety and soft mashed potato. It is based on a recipe, from an edition of Gourmet Traveller, which I have kept close to the heart. When buying the potatoes, try to pick ones that are similar in size to ensure even cooking. I usually use the back of a large spoon to push the boiled potatoes through a sieve, which creates a perfectly smooth consistency. However, I find that using a masher to push down on the spuds in a pot is a lot less time-consuming (for those lazy days) and still works well if you aren't fussy about a few tiny lumps through the mash.
In this recipe, I have said to use unsalted butter, only so that you have complete control over the amount of seasoning added. Regular, salted butter can also be used, but it means you need to be careful with seasoning - the mash could turn out too salty. I like to use slightly salted butter, which is the right amount of saltiness and flavours the mash so well that I don't need to season at the end.
- 1kg floury potatoes (I like desiree and royal blue), peeled
- 50g cold unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
- 100ml hot milk (Easiest way is to microwave it in a cup)
- 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
Place potatoes in a saucepan (large enough so that they are in a single layer) of cold salted water and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook, stirring a couple of times, until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a small sharp knife (12-15 minutes).
Drain and return to the pan with the heat on low, to allow the steam to evaporate.
After that, turn the heat off, and if you are using a hand masher, simply mash the potatoes in the pan. If not, remove the potatoes from the pan, cut in half and proceed with your preferred method of mashing, whether it be to push through a potato presser or fine sieve back into the pan.
After mashing, you will need to turn the heat back on low to warm up the potatoes in the pan, to remove any excess moisture. Then beat in a little butter at a time with a spatula until well incorporated and smooth. It is also important that you constantly keep the mixture moving so that it does not burn at the bottom. If you cannot mix fast enough, simply turn the heat off, then back on for the next step.
Add milk, whisk well until smooth and fluffy, stir in olive oil and season to taste.
Serve immediately, with freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of extra olive oil, if desired.
Luxe Mashed Potato