Pommes Puree

There are lots of ways to make mashed potatoes. This is my favorite.

Pommes Puree from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Idaho potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

  1. COOK THE POTATOES: Place the potatoes in the large pot and add enough cold water to completely cover them. Add the 1 tablespoon/14 g of salt and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes cook in the boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.

  2. Drain the potatoes, discarding the hot water, and when they are cool enough to handle – but still hot – slip them from their skins. This might take some effort, and unless you’re a magician, there will probably remain a few tiny bits of skin. Not a big deal. Just discard the skins as best you can and move on.

  3. MAKE THE PUREE: In the small pot, combine the heavy cream and butter and bring the mixture to a boil. (it boils over quickly, so keep an eye on it.)

  4. In the meantime, return the potatoes to the large pot and mash them with the potato masher. Once the cream mixture has come to a boil, pour it in increments into the potatoes and mix well. Add cream. Mash. Add cream. Mix. Do not overwork the potatoes. When the mixture is creamy and smooth, season with salt and pepper and serve.

IMPROVISATION:

There are a lot of chefs in this country who are getting a lot of mileage from “Truffle Mashed Potatoes.” Now, fresh truffles are very expensive, and I doubt you’ll want to use them for something as simple as mashed potatoes. But don’t worry. Most of these chefs aren’t using fresh stuff either. Simply make the recipe above, drop a teaspoon of the relatively inexpensive canned “black truffle peelings” into the mix, then jack it with a few drops of white truffle oil.

Chive mashed potatoes? Sure! Simply drop a bunch of chives into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Immediately cool in ice water to retain the bright green color. Chop roughly, then puree in a blender with a little oil to moisten. Push through a fine strainer, then fold the result into your potatoes, along with some fresh chopped chives.

Roasted pepper mashed potatoes? Roast red peppers. Peel off the skins. Remove seeds and stem. Puree. Mix with spuds.

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