Friday, February 22, 2013

Mashers - Garlic Mashed Potatoes ala Alton Brown

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So just how many posts can I make from a single three course meal... Three courses, three posts (but come back tomorrow to see the Parmesan Crisp get its well deserved due).

It really was a terrific basic meat and potatoes meal.  The Garlic Basil Pea Puree was a surprise BIG hit.  And that Pan Seared RIB EYE STEAK with a Cognac Pan Sauce was among the best steaks I have ever had.  Best of all, the entire meal came together so easy.  The peas are done in advance, the potatoes are warming while you make the steak.  30 minute meal indeed!

Some times you are in the mood for a good steak.

But, who knew there was so much to making a great batch of mashed potatoes?  Remember earlier in the week, I told you all that I had ordered a couple of mysteries and 2 HEAVY cookbooks from Amazon.  My wife was not terribly pleased, as we are moving from paradise in just 10 days.  Her comment, the savings from Amazon (free shipping if the bill is high enough) is going to get pretty expensive if I have to pay for weight penalties in my suitcase.  Only way to justify the luxury of the books is to actually cook from them.

The Pan Seared RIB EYE STEAK with a Cognac Pan Sauce was the first pilot episode and the first chapter of Alton Brown's overview book of his FoodNetwork series, GOOD EATS.  I am pretty familiar with cooking steaks, but I still learned quite a bit from the chapter (and the sauce recipe was amazing).  The chapters are laid out like the TV show.  Lots of science in the beginning, followed by practical use of the knowledge.

Chapter 2 is a great follow up to the steak chapter.  What goes with a great steak better than great Garlic Mashed Potatoes?  But, before the recipe, there was lots of info that I didn't know.  Best of all was a clear explanation of the different types of potatoes, and why some are better for mashing, and some are better to dice and make potato salad (and once you know the difference, you can add texture to your mashed potatoes).  Lots of discussion of starch and expanding granules to make fluffy taters.  Basic stuff, not needed to follow a recipe, but valuable information if your goal is to become a cook.

I love this book.  Once again, he wrote this entire book just for me!

And he has a great application for Mashers...

2 pounds Russet Potatoes (rinsed, peeled and cubed 1/2 inch size)
2 pounds Red potatoes (rinsed and cubed 1/2 inch size)
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
6 cloves Garlic (peeled and smashed)

  1. Place all spud hunks in a 4 quart saucepan and add just enough cold water to cover.  Add 1 tsp salt to the pot, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the buttermilk, cream and garlic to a 2 quart saucepan and bring to simmer over low heat.  Watch to make sure the mixture does not boil over.  Stir occasionally.
  3. When the spud water boils, ditch the lid, drop the heat to simmer and cook until the taters are easily crushed with tongs.  Drain the potatoes well.  The less moisture, the better.
  4. Add the final teaspoon of salt, add 1/4 of the buttermilk mixture and start smashing.
  5. As the spuds break down, add more of the buttermilk mixture.  Remember these are smashed potatoes, not whipped potatoes.  The red potatoes will mash well, the russet potatoes will mash slightly, but also some will remain whole, leaving a nice mixture of creamy potatoes with firm hunks floating.  Mash to your desired results.

And Joy of Joys... Alton gives a second application (he does not give recipes, his are applications of the knowledge he gives in the first half of the show/chapter).  This is an application for MASHER CAKES, made from left over Mashers!

10 ounces leftover MASHERS
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley, thyme or Green Onions (I used a TBS of "Not your Grandmother's Herbes de Provance")
1 Large Egg
1/2 cup of Japanese style breadcrumbs (Panko)
Oil for frying

  • Heat oil to frying temperature
  • Mix the Mashers, herbs and egg together, divide into 6 equal balls
  • form a ball into a flat patty, coat with the breadcrumbs
  • fry each side for about 3 minutes, until golden brown and delicious
  • Drain excess oil

Here's the lunch I sent to work with Jackie... A Masher Cake and a piece of left over piece of Salmon - Garlic Chipotle Spiced, Mango Glazed Salmon.  Not a bad meal made from leftovers.


Save over $10 from the cover price... A great deal and incredibly valuable information if you want to jump from a recipe follower to a cook!


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