I love mash. It’s such a simple but supremely satisfying dish. I usually can’t stop myself from dipping my finger into it already in the kitchen. Here are some hints how to make a great mash, some interesting variations on the basic recipe and some toppings that turn mash into a main dish.
500 grs floury potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold, King Edward, Agria, Likaria, Laura, Bintje)
3 tbsp butter
200 ml milk (alternatively 100 ml milk and 100 ml cream)
1/2 teaspoon salt
According to The Best Recipe the keys to a good mash are: Draining the potatoes very well before mashing, mashing the potatoes with a ricer, stirring them as little as possible and using warm but not hot milk and butter.
Peel the potatoes and cut into 4 cm long chunks. Boil in strongly salted water for 15-20 minutes until just soft. Do not overcook. Drain well and force through a ricer into a pot on low heat, use a wooden spoon to carefully blend in the warm milk and butter. Salt and serve immediately.
You can also brown the butter before adding it, which adds another note to the taste.
Olive oil can be substituted for the butter.
Buttery mash with vanilla is a marriage made in heaven. This is great by itself but especially with venison. It needs a healthy amount of vanilla in order to hold its own against flavoursome meats. Use at least 2 vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste. Scrape out the vanilla beans, reserve the seeds and add the empty beans to the cooking water of the potatoes. Remove and discard the beans when the potatoes are cooked. Add the seeds while mashing. Check the flavour and add additional vanilla seeds or paste if necessary. This should also be a very rich mash, so you can double the amount of butter.
In Peru, the Japanese diaspora has created a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food, the nikkei-cuisine. This mash variation seems to embody this mixture best:The Peruvian’s love of potatoes together with miso, the staple ingredient of Japanese cuisine. Miso works wonders in many recipes and does so here as well: It transforms the texture of the mash, making it glistening and much smoother. Since miso is available in so many different varieties and degrees of saltiness, do not add salt to the mash until the very end and adjust the amount of miso depending on its strength. Dissolve 1 tsp white miso in warm milk, making sure that no lumps remain. This mash actually works quite well without butter, so if you want to save calories you can leave it out.
Grind a large pinch of saffron with some salt. Add a little bit of hot milk, wait until dissolved, add to the mash.
celery root, parsnip or Jerusalem artichoke mash
Boil 400 grs cubed celery root in milk, blend and add to the mash at the end.
The same works with 400 grs parsnips or 200 grs jerusalem artichokes.
more & more variations
In reality, mash is a great carrier for almost any flavouring: lemon zest, grated truffles or truffle oil, almost all herbs, pesto, horseradish, cheese, apple sauce, even foie gras.
- deep fried parsley or rocket: Take a handful of herbs, make sure they are completely dry before frying, fry until crispy, drain and salt. Delicious.
- deep fried spring onion roots: The bits one chops off spring onions are wonderful when deep fried! Wash well to remove sand and soil. Dry very well. Deep fry, drain and salt.
- buttery spring onions: Blanch spring onions in salted water until al dente, then fry until slightly browned in butter.
- celery root straw with rosemary: Cut celery root into fine sticks with a mandoline, deep fry. Separately, deep fry a handful of rosemary leaves and mix with the celery. Season with lemon salt: rub together 1 tsp of salt with the zest of one lemon.
- deep fried crispy onions or onion gravy