Monday, April 14, 2008

Mission: PDC Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes.

Who doesn't love them?

Who hasn't made a volcano from them, or watched one be made?

Who hasn't cooed and clucked while Nana folds in a stick of butter and a little bit of cream to make her traditional mashed potatoes?

Who hasn't had Such-And-So's great garlic mashed potatoes at the potluck?

OK, we're potato homers around here, it's true. We love'em. We'd eat'em every day if we could. One of us has been known to eat entire bags of potato chips as a light appetizer. And to load up his plate with so much potato as to preclude all other elements (save the protein and lots of gravy). Baked, fried, mashed, who cares - let's eat'em. They're the best.

But why are mashed potatoes so good and so popular? We think it's because they are essentially a blank canvas. You can taste that butter and cream that Nana folds in there. You can taste the garlic that Such-and-So has dumped into them. They reward quality ingredients and - usually - are forgiving of mediocre ones. They make you feel like a successful cook with a minimum of skill or effort. (Plus you get to mash stuff up and make volcanoes, which doesn't hurt.)

So with all of that said, let's see what a truly gifted chef - Martin Picard - did to make some really, really yummy mashed potatoes.

Meez it up!

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But wait! Where are the potatoes, you ask. They're already getting ready, friends:

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Probably the most interesting ingredient in this dish - at least from a sourcing perspective - were the cheese curds. Melissa called several cheese outlets - 10 at least - and got some pretty curt answers - before finding these:

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Oh, and in case you're wondering... they taste like cheese. So we shredded them, thusly:

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And then we riced up the potatoes:

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And then put them back into a saucepan, and added some roasted garlic and some cream, and stirred:

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And then we added in those curds and a bunch o' Amish butter. And stirred some more until it got nice and creamy good:

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And then we plated it just so:

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And eventually we piled the PDC Pigs Feet on top of it. And they were goooood. With the pigs feet and without! (Not that we would take a swipe of them with our finger while plating or anything, but if we had, boy-oh-boy were they good! Hypothetically.)

Note to selves: We did diverge from the recipe in one big way: we did not strain the potatoes through a fine mesh sieve (tamis), as directed. Of all the kitchen gear we have, we don't have one of those. And we looked, but had trouble finding one locally. So we carried on with our lumps. This means that ours were not as smooth as what you get at PDC - there was a bit of lumpiness to them that detracted from them not one bit.

But, that being said, PDC Mashers are components in a bunch of the dishes and next time, we'd like do it with a tamis, just for kicks! (Maybe there is a magical tamis secret that we aren't privy to just yet!) Anyone know where we can get a good tamis?

Time, mis to eat: About 45 minutes or an hour. Nothing really complicated or time consuming-- just boiling and mixing!

Next week: PDC Foie Burger (#6)

Blast from the past:
PDC Pig's Feet

1 comment:

Matthew said...

I'm catching up on your old posts and loving the blog so far!

I looked in several places for a tamis to make the Yukon Gold blini in The French Laundry cookbook, and finally found one at a restaurant supply store in Toronto's Chinatown. Maybe San Francisco's Chinatown has a similar treasure? Or maybe you've already gotten hold of one! I'll read on and see...