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Monday, December 6, 2021

Pasty mashed potatoes? Not if you steam them

In his poem Digging, the Irish poet Seamus Heaney describes the feeling of holding a potato as “loving its cool hardness in our hands.” This “cold hardness” is the beginning of a proper mash, which should end with potatoes that taste deep without becoming pasty.

To preserve this flavor, I decided to try steaming the potatoes first rather than boiling them and was very pleased with the results. Allowing the potatoes to soften in a saucepan of rapidly bubbling water certainly works, but tends to leave the potatoes waterlogged, diluting their natural flavor and causing the edges to fall off like a landslide. Preserving the rind helps, but cooking the whole leg often creates a skin that is too soft around a center that is too hard.

Boiled potatoes are just right. As I learned from my family’s Chinese cuisine, steaming enhances the true flavor of vegetables. For potatoes, this process also allows it to soften by absorbing the right amount of moisture, and because it is not salty, it enhances its inherent sweetness.

I got the best results with Russet Burbank potatoes, also known as baked potatoes. This is because they have large granules of starch that swell and then separate during cooking, which means they break into pieces easily and absorb butter and milk easily. White, golden, and red potatoes – waxy and low in starch – swell and clump less, making them harder to crush (not ideal for mashing, but good for potato salads and casseroles).

Once steamed, reds should not be processed to keep them fluffy. A dampener is ideal for chopping potatoes, but steamed reddish brown flakes just as easily fall apart under a dinner fork, which is thinner than mashed potatoes, and is more common in any kitchen. Just don’t use a food processor or blender; cutting potato starch with a blade makes it sticky.

Likewise, over-beating the crumbled legs to add other ingredients. Brush freshly mashed potatoes with a little milk before adding the cold salted butter – ideal for a creamy consistency – helps the golden tortillas dissolve quickly into the mixture. Then the rest of the milk is whipped into the mixture to facilitate its aeration. The fork should not cut through the congestion abruptly and randomly, but instead rotate like a Ferris wheel, smoothly and smoothly up, down and back.

The seasoning at the very end gives you the opportunity to feel how savory the puree is from the salted butter, and then you can sprinkle on exactly what you need. This final seasoning stage goes against the chefs’ principle of strong and consistently salting potatoes, but in fact enhances the distinct deep earthiness of the potatoes. It’s the same with white pepper, which also retains a creamy, blemish-free mound.

Perhaps the biggest secret to fluffy, rather than pasty, mashed potatoes is that they’re even better when cooked a day or two in advance. In CookWise, Shirley O. Corricher explains how cooked potato starch “retrograde” when cooled, ensuring they don’t become sticky when reheated. It takes a little attention to detail and a lot of scientific knowledge to get great mashed potatoes, but nothing is easier than pulling a container of cool tough mashed potatoes out of the fridge to warm up on a busy vacation.

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Fluffy mashed potatoes

A steamer basket contains potatoes in New York, November 9, 2021. You tried cooking, but Genevieve Coe found a better way to make the mashed potatoes fluffier and more flavorful. Roscoe Betsill style food. Props in the style of Vanessa Vasquez. (Armando Raphael / The New York Times) #

For the silkiest fluffy mashed potatoes, start with Burbank’s firm, cool, ruddy leg, also known as Idaho or Baked Potatoes. They are easiest to knead without turning them into dough, and they are even tastier when steamed rather than boiled. Boiling potatoes can water the potatoes, diluting their earthy, delicate sweetness, but steaming them retains their inherent flavor. As the potatoes soften, they absorb the required amount of moisture. Seasoning the dish only at the very end enhances its inherent subtle sweetness. If you have a warmer, use it for an exceptionally smooth texture: Squeeze the steamed potatoes through the wetting agent back into the pan, then gently add the butter and milk with a wooden spoon or flexible spatula.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Total time: 40 minutes


3 lb. russet potatoes

1 glass of whole milk, plus more if needed

1/2 cup cold salted butter, cut into chunks


Freshly ground white or black pepper

1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed (optional)


1. Prepare the steamer: Place the insert or basket (or a large colander if you don’t have one) in a large saucepan and add just enough water to just below the base of the steamer. Bring water to a boil over medium to high heat.

2. Rinse the potatoes well, peel them. Rinse again, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Distribute evenly in a double boiler, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until very tender, 20-25 minutes. The fork should slide into the piece easily and break without effort. Switch off the stove, carefully remove the steamer insert and drain the water from the pan. Pour the potatoes back into the pot and spread evenly.

3. Let the potatoes stand until the surface is dry, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until steam forms, then keep warm over low. Place the potatoes on low heat and mash thoroughly with a fork. Add about a quarter of the milk and beat until the milk is combined.

4. Spread the oil evenly over the potatoes and beat until all traces of oil are gone. Add half of the remaining milk and mash to combine, then add the rest of the milk and beat gently until smooth, rotating with a fork as if beating eggs. If you don’t want the mashed potatoes so thick, add more milk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste and season more if desired.

5. Serve immediately, keep warm over low heat for up to 1 hour, or transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 2 days. As it cools, the mashed potatoes thicken, so it needs a cream to restore the desired consistency. If kept warm, gently mash the heavy cream until smooth and crumbly, add more if desired. If it’s cold, heat the cream in a large saucepan until boiling, then add to the potatoes. Mash gently and beat, adding cream as needed. Season to taste again before serving.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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