carrots impart an orange hue, but when puréed, the end
result looks similar to a sweet potato mash,” he says.
PHOTO CREDIT: Left, Stephen Stinson; right, Kimberley Williams
When Soby’s in Greenville, S.C., opened in 1977, mashed
potatoes became a focal point of plate presentation. The
restaurant’s corporate chef, Rodney Freidank, wrote a few
simple rules that would ensure great mashed potatoes no
matter who was preparing them. “This is how special mashed
potatoes are to the restaurant,” he says. “It’s important that
everyone knows the exact same procedure, no matter if you’ve
worked here 10 years or just started last week.”
The most common problem encountered in making the
perfect mash base is that the appropriate amount of liquid
must be added to achieve a light, fluffy consistency. “You
want the mash to end up with the appearance of a cloud,”
Freidank says. “Of course, add too much liquid and butter,
and you’ll end up with something looking like soup.”
LEFT: Rodney Freidank pairs pan-roasted monkfish with lobster mashed potatoes.
RIGHT: Greg Hardesty complements roasted cod with dilled-carrot/potato purée.
He also advises against using heavy cream. “Heavy cream
will not make mashed potatoes light and fluffy, but instead
weigh down the potatoes. Whole milk and butter is all you
need to get the right consistency, still feel the texture of the
potato and achieve an airy mash.”
To ensure that the right amount of liquid is added to boiled
potatoes, Freidank says to first make sure that enough
moisture has been removed. The drier the boiled potatoes,
the more flavor they will absorb from added ingredients.
“If the boiled potatoes retain their moisture, they have less
room to absorb flavor, and you do not end up with a flavorful
product. You also might end up with a soupy mixture, since
the liquid you added has nowhere to go.”
He also recommends using a liquid other than milk. “If you
want to add an ingredient or flavor to mashed potatoes, you
really want that ingredient and flavor to stand out, particularly
if you’re only going to serve a small of amount of mashed
potatoes as a side. Be sure the flavor is prominent.”
ROB BENES, A CHICAGO-BASED JOURNALIS T, WAS PREVIOUSLY EDITOR OF CHEF AND
CHEF EDUCATOR TODAY. HE HAS MORE THAN NINE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WRITING
ABOU T CHEFS, FOOD, WINE AND SPIRITS FOR TRADE AND EDUCATIONAL PUBLICATIONS.