Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
From Lynne Rossetto Kasper: Use this technique with any kind of flavoring. It's the method that is remarkable and easy. I've done the entire procedure a day ahead and reheated the mashed potatoes in a 375° oven.
From Shirley Corriher: Precooking potatoes at 140-160° and then cooling swells (gelatinizes) and recrystallizes the starch, making it no longer soluble in water, therefore you have fluffy mashed potatoes. A little vinegar in the water adds a hint of flavor and helps prevent discoloration caused by hard water or stem-end blackening.
- 4 to 5 medium Burbank Russet (Idaho) or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/3 inch thick
- 3 medium shallots, crushed
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons and 2 teaspons salt (4 teaspoons total)
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 5 shallots, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 1/2 to 1 cup half-and-half or milk
- 1. Precook the potatoes by heating enough water (about 6 cups) to cover them in a large pot over high heat until hot but well below a simmer. Turn heat down to low and add the potato slices, the 3 crushed shallots and garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and vinegar. The potatoes will cool the water down to about 160°. Cook at about this temperature, well below a simmer, for about 20 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the potato slices to cool them. Let them stand in water in the pot until you're ready to finish cooking, or drain, cover, and refrigerate.
- 2. When ready to mash, sauté the minced shallots and garlic in butter over medium heat until just soft in a heavy, medium saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the white pepper. Add the cream and half-and-half and heat gently. Set aside.
- 3. To finish cooking, add water to the cool potatoes if necessary, bring to a boil, and simmer until fork-tender, about 5 minutes at a simmer. Drain, remove the crushed shallots and garlic, put the potatoes back in the pot, and heat for about a minute to dry them out. To mash, push the potatoes once through a ricer or large-holed strainer into a medium mixing bowl. Bring the shallot and cream mixture to a boil and stir into the hot mashed potatoes. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed. Serve immediately.