I’ve made mashed potatoes dozens of times, and somehow always find a little lump or two. Or 50. Or 500. Before I knew better, I figured I just needed to whip them up harder and longer. I even threw them in the food processor once, and ended up with a gluey substance perfect for wallpapering the kitchen. How is it that I could grow my own sour dough starter, bake bread, roll up a pumpkin roll well enough to impress Martha, break down a duck for God’s sake, but be defeated by the humble russet? It was embarrassing.
I knew there were different kinds of potatoes out there, but never appreciated just how different they were until I started playing with Frieda’s Butter Babies. They look like baby Yukon’s with their yellow creamy flesh, and are so buttery you might not even miss it if you decide not to add butter. Frieda’s Butter Babies come in a very fun, recognizable package, and are exclusively grown for Frieda’s Specialty Produce. Frieda’s sources an impressive array of produce that you should check out.
Lucky for us, these Babies are available at a bunch of grocery store chains. Just hit the above link to see where you can get them, because, trust me, you want to get them if you want to make perfect mashed potatoes. Now I can make perfect, fail-proof mashed potatoes, and so can you. But only if you pick up a bag of these Butter Babies.
I like to add cheese to mashed potatoes, but it’s strictly optional. I was lucky to have some truffle streaked pecorino I picked up at Salumeria Luca Italian Deli and Bakery in Carmel.
It’s a killer cheese all on its own, but was pure Heaven in this mashup. If you’re in Carmel anytime in the near future, or ever, you must stop by there. They have over 40 kinds of artisan salumi (for the meat-eaters), over 30 kinds of Italian cheese, various loaves of bread freshly baked every morning, and an impressive array of pastries, pizzas, and grilled panini.
Oh, and did I mention they make their own gelato?
- 2 lbs Frieda's Butter Babies Potatoes
- ⅓ cup half-and-half (feel free to substitute vegetable broth)
- 2½ Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
- ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- ⅔ - 1 cup grated melty cheese (I used truffled pecorino cheese from Salumeria Luca in Carmel)
- Parsley (optional garnish)
- Add the potatoes to a well salted pot of water, cover the pot, and bring to a simmer. Cook until very tender, about 25 minutes.
- Coming the half-and-half, butter, salt and pepper in a small pot over medium heat. Bring just barely to a simmer and melt the butter.
- If you prefer not to have the skins in the mashed potatoes, push the potatoes through a potato ricer into the pot of hot milk and butter, and remove the skins from the ricer. Add the cheese to the pot and stir with a large metal spoon. Serve warm with a final flourish of freshly ground pepper, and chopped parsley, if desired.
FAVORITE HOLIDAY SIDE DISH
Feed Me Phoebe: Butternut Squash Gratin with Gruyere and Pistachios
The Lemon Bowl: Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Homemade Delish: Fennel and Potato Gratin
The Mom 100: Broccoli Rabe with Preserved Lemon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Rye & Roasted Butternut Squash Dressing
Red or Green: Green Beans with Chipotle Butter
The Mediterranean Dish: Shrimp Bruschetta
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Fail-Proof Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Lobster, Artichoke and Spinach Bake
Creative Culinary: Baked Mushrooms in a Parmesan Cream Sauce
Healthy Eats: 7 Holiday Sides That Won’t Spoil Dessert
FN Dish: 5 Indulgent Side Dishes to Deck Your Holiday Table