Mashed Potatoes Picture: KARSTEN MORAN/NYTimes
Mashed potatoes are among the simplest and most satisfying potato dishes. Whether you like them whipped and creamy, dense or fluffy, they are easy to pull off on a week night but special enough for a holiday. 

And when plain mashed seems too plain, expand on the classic with endless variations of herbs, aromatics and cheeses.

Basic Method

Put a large pot of water on to boil, adding a tablespoon of salt for each gallon of water. 

While the water heats, peel the largest potatoes you have (two per person is a good rule of thumb) and roughly cut into large chunks, about the size of a jumbo egg. 

Boil until tender all the way through (start testing after 10 minutes).

Heat any flavourings (butter, milk, cream, buttermilk, stock) you plan to add. When potatoes are tender, scoop out a cup of cooking water and set it aside.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Place over low heat and shake until most of the steam has dissipated.

Add some of your flavourings, mash and taste. Add salt. 

Repeat until mashed and seasoned to your liking. 

Adjust the texture with cooking water. 

Serve immediately or cover tightly and set aside for up to 30 minutes.

Tips 

Choose large potatoes to minimize peeling.

It’s better to overcook potatoes than to undercook them; be sure to cook them so they are thoroughly tender.

Throw garlic cloves and bay leaves or other aromatics into the cooking water; it adds another layer of flavor to the potatoes.

Shake the drained potatoes in the pot over low heat, to get rid of excess water and add fluffiness.

Make sure everything you plan to add to the potatoes — milk, cream, butter, stock, cooking water — is very hot before you begin mashing.

Quickly mashed potatoes are the fluffiest. The longer you work them, the denser and creamier the mash will become.
Add another root veg

The New York Times