Tricks of the Trade - Making perfect mashed potato

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Related tags: Starch, Water

Article on making the perfect mashed potato

"Use good-quality potatoes like Maris Piper that are floury not waxy. Cut them into even shapes so they cook at the same rate and put them into plenty of salted water. I use a sharp point to test they are cooked - don't let the potatoes disintegrate or they will absorb too much water. I drain off all the water and then put the pan on the stove to dry the potatoes, before mashing them when they are still hot. I use olive oil, not milk or cream unless I am making a mash sauce. Depending on the dish, I sometimes add grain mustard, horseradish, chives or other herbs."

Bill Leadbeater, head chef, Mason's Arms, Swerton, Oxfordshire

"Use a good 'fluffy' potato. We use local, of course, a Pembrokeshire Maris Peer. Boil until just tender, turn onto a tray and dry in the oven for a few minutes. Put through a ricer - don't whisk as the potato goes very starchy and sticky. Then, add a little local cream and butter (and egg

yolk if extra richness is required) and stir in. We then add fresh-milled black pepper and a little freshly-ground white pepper (this gives a little heat - not too much) and adjust with salt."

Kim Jewell, Proprietor, Stackpole Inn, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

"Use floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks. Put in a pan of lightly salted boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes and return to the pan. In another pan, bring milk to the boil and then pour over potatoes and mash until smooth. Season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste."

British Potato Council

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