TO MAKE SUPER-RICH POTATO PUREE
|Robuchon potatoes are cooked in lightly
salted water with skins on and then drained.
The potatoes are then peeled and passed through
a food mill .. dried out over a low flame and
then emulsified with butter and milk. And, then
to achieve that velvety texture, the potatoes
are passed several times through a fine drum
Adapted from from L'Atelier of JoŽl Robuchon
Chef Steve Benjamin of L'Atelier de JoŽl Robuchon
(MGM Grand) - Las Vegas, NV
grams Ratte potatoes (fingerlings or Yukon's can
also be used)
250 grams chilled unsalted high quality French butter--
chilled and cut into small pieces
Hot Milk, as needed 1/2 -3/4 cup
salt to taste
NOTES ON BUTTER QUANTITY:
The classic Robuchon mashed potatoes, as
is served at the L'Atelier de JoŽl Robuchon uses
a ratio of potatoes:butter = 2:1. However in Robuchon's
book written by Patricia Wells which was targeted
for American audiences, the ratio is given as 4:1.
If you go with the 2:1 ratio, don't plan
on large portions. Just a few table spoons will
The Ratte is a small potato with a unique
nutty flavor and smooth, buttery texture. The variety
originated in France or Denmark in the late 19th
century. It is the potato preferred by Chef JoŽl
Robuchon for making his mashed potatoes.
The potatoes are now also grown in the
the potatoes (shown to left are Ratte's from Union
Square Market) Do not peel the potatoes. Cook them
in their skins covered by at least 1 inch of water.
For each liter of water add 10 grams of salt. Simmer
uncovered over moderate heat for 20-30 minutes or
until a knife can easily be inserted and removed.
soon as the potatoes are done remove and drain.
Do not allow them to sit in the water.
Meanwhile, bring the milk just to a boil
in a medium sized saucepan and set aside.
potatoes are cool enough to handle (but still hot),
peel them and cut into manageable pieces. Then pass
the potatoes through the grid of a food mill (or
use a potato ricer) passing them into a large heavy
Discard the skin after it has been peeled
the pan over low heat and using a wooden spatula
stir the potatoes to dry them out (approximately
Begin adding 3/4 of the butter, little
by little vigorously stirring until the butter
is incorporated. This should be done in a similar
manner as one prepares any butter emulsion (starting
off with a very small amount of butter to start
add the milk in a thin stream (a little at a time)
till the desired consistency is reached. You
may only need a very small amount of the milk,
depending on the potatoes used, amount of butter
used, and personal taste. Stir vigorously till all
the milk is incorporated.
stir the puree with a whisk to incorporate air
and make the puree fluffy.
Pass the puree through a fine drum sieve
to further lighten and smooth the dish. This can
be repeated 2 or 3 times for to make the puree silky
Taste for seasoning. If not using immediately,
place in the top of a double boiler over simmering
water. Whisk occasionally to keep smooth. The puree
can be further adjusted with hot milk or butter
If you don't serve the potatoes immediately
you can keep them warm for an hour using a double
Remember because they are so rich you only
need a small amount per person.
became famous with his mashed potatoes. Most of the
rich velvety style we find in great restaurants use
similar or variations of the techniques shown above
Reminder: 1 Tablespoon = 14 grams = 100 calories
a food mill or ricer. Passing your mashed potatoes
through a food mill or potato ricer will give them a silky
smooth texture. You want to limit the amount of mechanical
stress to prevent damage to the potato cells. This will
prevent the potatoes from becoming gooey... Why do they
become gooey? As Harold
McGee says: "The gooeyness develops when you break open
the cooked potato cells and literally beat the starch
out of them. Thatís why the consistency is a lot like
a cornstarch-thickened sauce."
the potatoes before adding butter. After passing through
a food mill or potato ricer it's best to dry the potatoes
out for a few minutes. You want to remove as much water
as possible. Water is no friend to potatoes..water will
cause the starch granules to swell, break down and release
some of their contents into the water allowing for gelatinization.
enough butter! The number one reason why mashed potatoes
made by some restaurants will taste better than yours
is because they mix in an enormous amount of butter. Try
using from 4:1 --> 2:1 potato:butter by weight. You
might want to experiment with the ratios to see the difference.
or European style butter. They have less water and higher
adds the butter first until the mashed potatoes reach
their desired consistency, and then add the hot milk to
add body and texture to the butter/potato emulsion.
Note: Some chefs believe that melting
the milk, cream and butter together before adding them
to their mashed potatoes allows the fat to coat the starch
granules of the potatoes more evenly, giving it a better
your potatoes well with plenty of kosher salt.
the emulsion warm so it will not separate. Too hot
or too cold and an emulsion can break.
about Starch in Potatoes:
granules contain two types of molecules amylose, which
is linear, and amylopectin, which is branched. These starch
the ability to form gooey molecules, gels or emulsions,
In cold water starch does not dissolve:amylopectin is
highly insoluble in water, and amylose is soluble only
in water temperature about 131. When put in hot water,
the water molecules dissolve the amylose molecules and
alter the structure of the starch granule causing the
granule to swell and break. Boiled
potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even
increase in volume, becoming swollen and watery. If a
potato puree is watery, it will become sticky. That is
why it is important to dry out the potatoes are cooking.
potatoes meet milk, on the other hand, the starch reacts
differently. Mashing or pureeing potatoes with milk, cream
or butter, all of which contain several types casein
proteins. Casein reduces the quantities of amylose
that leaks out of starch granules, and also limits the
swelling of the starch, leading to a smoother, more pleasing
consistency. Casein is an important emulsifying and binding
agent. Excellent potatoes can be made with any ratio of
milk, butter or cream since all contain casein proteins.
Deciding what ratios of each depends upon your personal
HOW MUCH MILK, BUTTER AND/OR CREAM DO THEY
USE IN THEIR MASHED POTATOES:
Thomas Keller -- Bouchon
2 pounds yukon
8 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cup (ounces) heavy cream
Thomas Keller -- Under Pressure
1 kg. Yukon Gold
200 grams heavy cream, plus more for finishing
200 grams chicken stock
200 grams unsalted butter, plus more for finishing
Gordon Ramsay -- Passion for Flavor
1kg potatoes Desiree or Romano
150ml or 3/4 cup double cream
3 oz, 85 grams unsalted butter
Gordon Ramsay --F Word
400g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and chopped
100ml full fat milk
100ml whipping cream
Note: Chef Ramsay makes and emulsion first
with milk, cream and butter then incorporates it with
Grant Achatz --Alinea
2 medium yukon potatoes
200 grams (7.1 oz.) cold butter
100 g (3.5 oz) heavy cream
of Mashed Potatoes:
Bouley often substitutes olive oil or a puree of roasted
onions for some of the butter.
Robuchon makes only a few variations: olive oil or goose
fat for the butter, and nutmeg or saffron as seasonings.
-- Many chefs use root vegetables like turnips, parsnips
or celery root that are added to the potato puree for
garlic cloves can be boiled with the potatoes and mashed
at the same time as is pureed roasted garlic is another
--Onions, shallots or leeks -- chopped and sauteed until
they are soft and golden -- are good to fold in at the
--Mincings of black truffle with some truffle juice or
truffle oil glorify a puree.
-- Grated 'fresh' horseradish and sour cream, folded in
at the end, are popular, especially with hearty beef dishes
like short ribs.
paste, sold in tubes in many food shops adds a different
sharpness and a hint of green.
-- Cheese, especially grated Parmesan or soft goat cheese,
can be folded in. Many chefs add their local cheese.