To ‘mash’ or to ‘purée’? As will be obvious to readers of this book, I belong to the latter category. ‘Mash’ is one of the ugly words of cookery.
To make a good purée, a floury potato is essential. Put unpeeled, even-sized potatoes, cut in quarters, in cold salted water, bring to a boil and simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked. The Roux brothers recommend putting a quarter of a lemon in the cooking water to prevent break-up. As soon as the potatoes can be handled push off the skins and steam dry under a cloth for 5–10 minutes on a warm stove.
A good purée needs no accompaniment. However, the following addition is very good. Use different varieties of mushroom if possible.
Sauté the onion in the olive oil until just transparent, then add the mushrooms, raise the heat and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the garlic and seasoning and cook over a gentle heat for a few more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with the purée.
Grated or peeled potatoes can be used to clean normal or oily skins.
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