Perfect Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 to 5 Idaho potatoes, weighing three pounds
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound or 1 stick, unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Peel and rinse the potatoes.  Cut into quarters. Put the potatoes in a 3-quart pot and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring to a full boil over high hear, about 5 minutes.

Always start the potatoes in cold water.  Bringing the potato and water to a boil together helps prevent the starch from leaching out of the potato cells. As soon as the pot reaches the boil, lower heat to medium and reduce the boil to a slow boil. Cook the potatoes for 35 to 40 minutes until fork tender, which means a dinner fork jabbed into the potato encounters no resistance.

In the meantime, pour 2 cups of heavy cream into a small 1- or 2-quart saucepan. Add ¼ pound or 1 stick of butter and cook on low heat until the cream warms and the butter melts completely. Do not boil. Using a towel or oven mitt, take the pot of potatoes from the stove and empty into a colander placed in the sink. You'll see lots of steam rise up - let it go, the steam is taking some of the water out of the potatoes. Some professional cooks, so intent on a dry spud, place the cooked potatoes on a cookie sheet and stick in a preheated 300-degree oven to get rid of the water. You'll know the potatoes are ready to mash when the steam begins to subside and the edges of the potato quarters begin to look dry and rather white.

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