Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Perfect Parmesan Roasted-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Yummy, restaurant-style mashed potatoes are seriously easy to make.  I made them last night with an entire head of garlic.  OK, you can scale back, but the process and result is the same:  delicious mashed potatoes that your family will love.

Start by roasting the garlic.  This is not (I repeat, NOT) a difficult task.  Simply slice the top off a head of fresh garlic.

Place the garlic head on some foil on a sheet pan.  Take the "top" off and pour on a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Put the "top" back on and wrap the foil around the garlic.

Roast the garlic in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour.  In a few minutes, you'll smell its goodness permeating the entire house.  Cue kids salivating and husband smooching you.

Let the garlic head cool, top on.  When you are ready to use it, simply squeeze the soft, caramel-y cloves into a bowl. 

You'll be amazed at how gooey and weird they are in this stage.  As you can see above, roasting the garlic literally transforms it into something completely different from fresh garlic in texture and flavor. The cloves just "mush" out of the bulb like mayonnaise.

Now you are ready to use whatever amount of roasted garlic you'd like in your mashed potatoes.  Store the extra in the fridge in an airtight container and use in another dish this week.  Pasta or garlic bread, anyone?

How easy was that?  Your labor involved a knife cut, pouring some oil, and a few squeezes of the stuff into a bowl. 

Now, on to the main event.

Perfect Parmesan Roasted-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This makes 4-6 servings.

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes (I used a combination this time; use whatever you have.)
1/2 to 1 cup milk (I've also used half and half or some cream to make the dish extra special.)
1/2 to 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter (Use more if you like butter...as if anyone doesn't.)
roasted garlic, amount to your preference
salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Wash then cube the potatoes.  I typically leave the skins on - not only is it more nutritious, but I also like the way it tastes and looks in the end. And it saves you the work of peeling.  Win-win-win.  Place potatoes in a big pot of cold water with a liberal amount of salt.  Boil until they are fork-tender. 

While potatoes are boiling, heat the milk and butter in a small pan.  Place this, the Parmesan, and garlic in the bowl of your mixer.

Drain potatoes and place BACK into the hot pan in which you boiled them for a few seconds.  This will help "steam off" any liquid remaining that may make the potatoes mushy.

Add potatoes to the mixer bowl and mix until desired consistency - chunkier or smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

This isn't an exact science. You can experiment with the milk, butter, cheese, and garlic amounts. Sour cream, wasabi powder, ranch dressing... these are options for add-ins, too.

Serve warm, preferably with a hearty slice of meat loaf and a nice green salad.  :) 

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