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Nov 20, 2008 03:59 AM

mashed taters

do you boil them whole or do you dice 'em before you mash 'em?

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  1. I use yukon golds and red potatoes and quarter them (or even smaller, but not diced) before boiling. They'll cook a lot faster. I like a "rustic" mash, so I leave the skins on.

    3 Replies
    1. re: KiltedCook

      I ask because there is a fierce debate raging of whether cutting the potatoes before they are boiled effects the final dish.

      1. re: slodki

        If you leave the skins on and boil them whole they will take longer to cook and they will be drier when you go to use them.
        If you peel and/or cut them you they take less time and are absorb more of the water in which they are cooked.
        Some people think that dilutes the end flavor. My personal opinion is that unless you are using potatoes from your own garden (which do have a marvelous taste on their own) it does not make that much difference. Just be sure you use your own judgement on amount of milk/cream you add later and don't follow an exact recipe.
        Where the cut/don't cut thoughts matter, for instance, is when you make potato salad. There you want the potato to be as dry as possible.

        1. re: slodki

          I don't think it affects the flavor as much as the texture -- a drier potato will make a fluffier mash. I do whole unless it's a weeknight, then i'll halve them.

      2. I'd be interested--can't imagine peeling boiling hot potatoes. I quarter them then run them through a ricer. When done, they stay beautifully in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

        1. Peeling hot potatoes is easy - my wife does it all the time for her potato salad. She thinks it's easier than peeling raw. But I usually make the mashed, and I love it with skin on, so for that, I like to quarter them, boil, and mash (with butter, milk, salt). I like to use a mix of mealy and waxy - so it's either yukon gold or red bliss, but mixed with a couple of russetts.

          3 Replies
          1. re: applehome

            ""(with butter, milk, salt)""

            My mashed potatoes has to have more sin and arterial clogging "real cream or half and half" in them. I cringe if I have to use 4% milk and forget 2%, except to drink. Real butter as well.

            1. re: RShea78

              83% butterfat makes up for a lot of sins in that regard. I don't keep cream around except to buy for specific recipes, and all we drink is a bit of 1% milk - fortunately, we always have euro-fat, cultured butter.

              1. re: RShea78

                I remember, as a 13 YO, that I stayed over at a friend's house. He made instant mashed potatoes and I thought it was a sin, as I watched him put a half-stick or more of butter in them. They were great!

            2. I bake 'em, let cool a little and they pop out practically mashed, also good if you decide at the last minute to make twice-baked.

              1. Try them both ways and decide which way you like best. How we like them means nothing to your taste buds! '-)