Family members and longtime friends often take great amusement at my career of choice, as I was a remarkably picky eater in my early years. I was no run-of-the-mill fussy child; until my teens, I turned my nose up at even the most basic, revered, and seemingly inoffensive of comfort foods: mashed potatoes. Perhaps I was prejudiced against the delightful spud due to an early negative experience — in the wrong hands they can be reminiscent of wallpaper paste — yet still, of all of my food phobias I've overcome, this might be the craziest and most embarrassing.
Since that first revelatory bite, I've devoured them with relish and have experimented with all sorts of novel add-ins, but I keep coming back to their most simple, unadorned iteration. Bolstered by naught but cream, butter, and salt, this pared-down side might not sound like much to write home about, but don't let that dissuade you. Rather, these are the essence of potato and more than worthy of your Thanksgiving table this year.
I like to keep the skins on the potatoes as it adds texture and flavor, but for a smoother, less rustic mash, peel them before boiling. If using larger potatoes, quarter them, and check for doneness earlier (around the 15-minute mark) checking every few minutes till they're done. This recipe is easily doubled. To make garlic mashed potatoes, add the cloves from one head of roasted garlic.
- 1 1/2 pounds small yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean and halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream (or more to taste)
About 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
- Fill a 6+-quart capacity stockpot with water, and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, and boil for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Drain the water from the potatoes, and add them to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter, cream, salt, and pepper, and beat, using the paddle attachment, until thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Adjust to taste with salt and cream.
- Serves 4