Essential Mashed Potatoes. Picture: Stacy Zarin Goldberg
4 to 6 servings

Make Ahead: Prepare the mashed potatoes up to 4 hours in advance, cover and keep at room temperature; they can also be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. Reheat gently in a heatproof bowl placed on top of a pot filled with some water (a double boiler setup) over medium heat, adding extra half-and-half or milk and adjusting the seasoning as needed.

Ingredients

  • 900g potatoes, peeled and cut into 7cm-long chunks 
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half (may substitute whole or low-fat milk), plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; reduce the heat to medium, cover partially and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes and garlic are tender.

Meanwhile, combine the butter, oil and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Reduce the heat to low, cover and keep warm until the potatoes are ready. Alternatively, you can melt the butter (cut into small pieces) with the oil and half-and-half in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, heating at half-power for 1 minute and then at 30-second increments, stirring occasionally.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot; return it to the still-warm burner (off the heat). Shake the pot back and forth for 1 to 2 minutes or until most of the moisture has evaporated. Remove the pot from the burner. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mash the potatoes and garlic to a fairly smooth consistency, leaving as many chunks as you like.

Pour the butter mixture over the potatoes and use the wooden spoon to blend to a smooth, but not soupy, consistency. If the potatoes are too dense or thick, add more half-and-half to reach your desired texture. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, or more as needed, and the pepper. Serve warm.

Washington Post