Ever homey, ever elegant, ever irresistible, this is the dish that helped make Chef Joel Robuchon's reputation. Clever man that he is, he realized early on that if you give people potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes, they'll be eternally grateful, forever fulfilled. These are, of course, no ordinary mashed potatoes, but a puree that is softened with an avalanche of butter and mellowed with bubbly boiling milk. The quantity of butter and milk needed for a successfully silken and satiny puree will vary according to the potatoes and the season. Early-season potatoes will be firmer, demanding more butter and milk for a perfectly soft, almost fluffy puree. The keys here are potatoes of uniform size (so they are uniformly cooked), and a strong arm for drying the potatoes with a flat wooden spatula. Be sure that the butter is well chilled, for it will help to make a finer, smoother puree. Also follow the proportions of salt to water when cooking the potatoes: You won't be able to make up for it with additional salt at the end. I agree, this is a lot of work for a simple potato puree. But once you taste the results, you'll agree that your labor has been pleasantly rewarded.
1. Scrub the potatoes, but do not peel them. Place the potatoes in a large pot, add salted water (1 tablespoon salt per quart of water) to cover by at least 1 inch. Simmer, uncovered, over moderate heat until a knife inserted into a potato comes away easily, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes as soon as they are cooked. (If they are allowed to cool in the water, the potatoes will end up tasting reheated.)
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil over high heat. Set aside.
3. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them. Pass the potatoes through the finest grid of a food mill into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan set over low heat. With a wooden spatula, stir the potatoes vigorously to dry them, 4 to 5 minutes. Now begin adding 12 tablespoons of the butter, little by little, stirring vigorously until each batch of butter is thoroughly incorporated; the mixture should be fluffy and light. Then slowly add about three fourths of the hot milk in a thin stream, stirring vigorously until the milk is thoroughly incorporated.
4. Pass the mixture through a flat fine-mesh (drum) sieve into another heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir vigorously, and if the puree seems a bit heavy and stiff, add additional butter and milk, stirring all the while. Taste for seasoning. (The puree may be made up to 1 hour in advance. Place in the top of a double boiler, uncovered, over simmering water. Stir occasionally to keep smooth.)
For exceptionally rich potatoes, the quantity of butter may be doubled.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (195g)|
|Recipe Makes: 6|
|Calories from Fat: 280 (72%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 31.1g||41 %|
|Saturated Fat 19.6g||98 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 8g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 1.2g|
|Cholesterol 82.2mg||25 %|
|Sodium 16.2mg||1 %|
|Potassium 648.7mg||17 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 26.5g||8 %|
|Dietary Fiber 3.3g||13 %|
|Sugars, other 23.2g|
|Protein 3.6g||5 %|
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Calories per serving: 391
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