I’ve tried to fall in love with the prize of dinner tables across America. They just didn’t get me excited. Until last week.
It was my pre-Thanksgiving demo at Eastern Market. Marvin at Long Meadow had beautiful Russets and it seemed a shame not to serve them up light, fluffy, creamy and rich. I sat down and did some reading. The recipe, it turns out, is simple and perfect.
What’s the secret to the world’s best mashed potatoes? Three things.
- Use a good starchy potato. Yukon Golds are okay, but Russets are the best. Several people have praised Kennebecks as well. I’d love to try them.
- Pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill*. The less you work them the fluffier they are. Beaters just make them gummy.
- Crème fraîche. The one thing lacking amidst the comforting starchy potatoes, rich cream and butter, salt and pepper, was a little bite. Something to keep your palate from being lulled to sleep. Sour cream is too sharp. Crème fraîche is the perfect answer.
So this year I will finally join those of you who have been extolling their virtues and raise a glass – and a large sauceboat filled with gravy – to a bowl filled with fluffy, rich mashed potatoes. Happy Thanksgiving!
*Bonus! The food mill will catch the skins. No more potato peeling. Don’t worry, you can find another job for cousin Johnny!
Masterfully Mashed Potatoes
- 3 large Russet potatoes
- 2 tbs butter
- 1/2 cup cream
- 3 tbs crème fraîche
- Boil whole and unpeeled potatoes until a paring knife easily pierces to the center, but potatoes are not falling apart.
- Using the finest disc, press potatoes – peels and all – through a food mill into a medium bowl. The food mill will catch the peels.
- Stir butter, cream and crème fraîche into warm potatoes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.