Posts Tagged 'potatoes'

Spuds “á la Robuchon”

Purée de pomme de terre

Every renowned chef has their signature dish. Gordon Ramsay has his “Ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon” and Heston Bulmenthal his “Bacon & Egg ice-cream with snail porridge”. Funnily, despite Joël Robuchon’s legendary status (he once ran two 3 Michelin star restaurants in Paris; beat that, Gordo…), the dish a lot of people associate him with is his mashed potatoes. This is no ordinary mash – it’s sinfully rich and made with equal parts potato and butter. It sounds very heavy, but served in small quantities is actually quite light because of the way it’s whipped.

I’ve read so much  about this mash on blogs and foodies mags and I finally got to try it last year at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas.  It was wicked.  Coincidentally, I came across a recipe for the mash in one of the books I was reading at the time, “Doing without Delia” by Michael Booth (a very funny read, by the way). I think I’d feel too guilty about preparing food like this in my own kitchen, so in a strange (and somewhat lazy) move, I’m passing on this recipe to you without having tried it myself. I’ll get around to it one day and let you all know… 😉

For this recipe, it’s important to use a potato ricer, a utensil similar to a large garlic press. Only a ricer will give you the smooth result you’re looking for. If you attempt this with a food processor or a regular potato masher, you will overwork the potato and end up with sticky, gluey mash.

Here’s Michael Booth’s recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 1kg butter (chilled & unsalted)
  • salt
  • 100ml whole milk

Method

  1. Wash the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Simmer gently in water until potatoes are tender. Add a generous amount of salt half way through cooking.
  2. Allow the potatoes to cool a little, then peel. Push the potatoes through a ricer, then through a fine sieve to get a very smooth result.
  3. Cut the chilled butter into large chunks. Heat the milk in a large saucepan add the riced potatoes. Stir vigorously to prevent burning. Add each piece of butter separately and wait until the butter has melted before adding another. When all of the butter has been incorporated into the potato, whip the potatoes vigorously with a whisk.
  4. You can add a little more butter or milk if the mash dries out slightly before serving.

Further Reading

  • Gordon Ramsay’s “Truffle oil pomme purée” – roughly the same idea, but lent some luxury with the addition of a litle truffle oil.
  • Cooking For My Wife “Joël Robuchon’s pommes purée” – another food blogger who tasted the famous mash in L’Atelier and was sufficiently impressed to re-create the dish using tips gleaned from eGullet.

Leek & Potato Soup with Truffle Oil

This is a thick and rich soup, perfect for winter. It also makes a great starter for a dinner party; just serve it in small portions as it is quite rich. The truffle oil makes this soup even more luxurious, but you can easily leave this out. You can also use less cream if you prefer a lighter soup.

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 3 large leeks
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 200ml single cream
  • ½ tsp truffle oil (optional)
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Remove the green portion of the leeks and wash thoroughly. Slice the white part of the leeks.
  2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add the sliced leeks, along with the potatoes and celery. Add a good pinch of salt and cover the saucepan. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened completely.
  3. Add the chicken stock and whizz using a stick blender. Simmer gently for 5 minutes then stir through the truffle oil and cream. Season to taste with salt and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper. Garnish with a drop of truffle oil or a blob of cream and some finely chopped chives.

Serves 4.

Pommes Dauphinoise

Potato Dauphinoise #2

Here’s a recipe for a rich and unctuous potato dauphinoise – perfect for using up your leftover Christmas ham and red cabbage. Unlike a lot of recipes I’ve seen for dauphinoise, I don’t start mine on the hob. I prefer to cook from scratch in the oven which allows me to season each layer of potatoes individually. This means the dauphinoise will always be perfectly seasoned.

Purists will tell you that a proper dauphinoise should not contain any cheese, that the potatoes and cream form their own golden crust. Well, I’ve tried both, and I prefer this with cheese. Of course, you don’t need a mandoline to cut the potatoes, but it certainly speeds things up. Using a mandoline also has the advantage of ensuring all of your potato slices are of the same thickness and therefore cook evenly.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 medium potatoes
  • butter
  • 250ml double cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • ½ clove garlic, grated or minced
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (or Gruyére)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Slice the potatoes, using a mandoline if you have one . If doing this using a knife, ensure the slices are of a similar thickness, about 3-5mm.
  3. Add the milk, cream and garlic to a saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and take off the heat.
  4. Butter a baking dish (about 24cm squared) and add a layer of potatoes. Give the potatoes a light sprinkling of sea salt and a few turns of black pepper. Keep adding layers of potatoes, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. I normally get about 6 layers from this amount of spuds.
  5. Add the cream and milk mixture then top with a couple of handfuls of grated cheese and some more black pepper.
  6. Cook for about 1 hour at the bottom of the oven. You might want to place some buttered foil on the baking dish for the last 15 minutes if you don’t want the top to get too brown. I don’t bother, as the crispy bits are very tasty.

Notes

  • Nigel Slater (as always) has some great variations on dauphinoise in his book, Real Food – including a tasty looking version made with smoked mackerel fillets.
  • You could use a full clove of garlic, but I prefer to keep the garlic flavour subtle in this one.  Make sure the garlic is grated or ground to a paste though, you don’t want to end up with chunks of garlic in this one.

Serves 4.

Aloo Tikki Chaat

Aloo Tikki Chaat

Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Commonly found in the “Starters” section on Indian restaurant menus, Aloo Tikki Chaat is a fried potato cake, flavoured with spices and fresh herbs. I like to add some toasted nuts (similar to a “batata vada”) to give a more interesting texture. The spicing here is simply a guide, adjust according to your own taste.

I like to serve these with some poppadoms, spicy mango chutney and some lime pickle. Oh, and a large frosty Cobra beer. 😉

Ingredients

  • 800g potatoes (approx 4 large potatoes)
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • handful of cashew nuts (or skinned peanuts), toasted in a dry pan and roughly chopped
  • butter & oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
  • fresh coriander

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Boil in salted water until tender, then mash. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. That’s your base done.
  2. Heat a large knob of butter (add a little oil to stop it burning) in a small pan and add your spices. Mix the garlic and spices into the butter and cook until the mustard seeds start popping. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the spicy butter to the mashed potato along with the nuts, green chilli and a handful of finely chopped fresh coriander. Mix well.
  4. Flour your hands and shape the potato into cakes, dusting both sides with flour as you go. You should get about 8 decent sized cakes out of this mixture. (I use a scone cutter to get a nice uniform shape to the cakes.)
  5. To cook, heat some oil in a pan and get it quite hot. Place the cakes in the pan and reduce the heat. Fry on both sides until golden brown.

Makes 8 cakes approx.

Panch Phoran Aloo

I made this dish today because I had a few spuds to use up. It’s excellent, just some cubed potatoes slow-fried with whole spices. The recipe is adapted slightly from Nigella Lawson’s “How to Eat”. The secret is to season well and make sure you fry the potatoes as slowly as possible so that they don’t break up.

Panch Phoran Aloo

Ingredients

  • 1kg potatoes (about 5 large potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of each of the following spices: cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black onion seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • salt & black pepper
  • fresh coriander
  • lemon juice (optional)

Panch Phoran Spices

Method

  1. Cut the potatoes into 1cm cubes, you don’t need to be too exact. Heat the oil and stir-fry the potatoes over a very high heat for a minute or two.
  2. Cover and reduce the heat as low as possible. After about 20 minutes, add the garlic and spices to the potatoes along with some salt and black pepper. Stir gently to combine and cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Check the potatoes are tender, leave for another 5 or 10 minutes if you think they need it. Add a big pinch of salt and some more freshly ground black pepper, then add the chopped fresh coriander. You could also add a squeeze of lemon juice at this stage. Stir gently and serve.

Serves 2.