Everybody knows how to make mashed potatoes, right? Ah, but could there be a better way. The current copy of Cook’s Illustrated says yes. After much time in the kitchen, one of the Senior Editors of the magazine, Lan Lam, questioned some of the techniques commonly accepted.
Before cooking, potatoes should be cut into 1/4” slices, she says, rather than chunked. Uneven exteriors cause different degrees of doneness, so you need even surfaces.
No need to start the spuds in cold water, boiling water gives a better outcome.
The researcher also called for using less water and a medium-size pot. Chunky potatoes take up space; sliced ones fit more easily in a smaller pot.
Customize Your Mash
Russets have an earthy flavor; Yukon Golds are more buttery. If you prefer a bit of chunkiness, use a handheld masher.
A smoother texture comes with a ricer or food mill. While milk makes for a leaner helping of potatoes; half and half gives you a creamier, fluffier mash.
I already do the things recommended by the tester, with the exception of the slicing. But the researcher’s findings on that make sense. I’m giving it a try. Besides, it’s a wonderful excuse to make a pot of mashed potatoes, all in the name of science.