St. Patty’s Day Mash
Aka The Blue Dack Mash from the kitchen of Andrew Plotsky, Saratoga Farmers’ Market
Basket of local potatoes, blue if possible
One good-sized onion
One medium sized leek
4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil, a few tablespoons
Salt & pepper to taste
Wash and cut potatoes into medium chunks. Boil in water until soft enough to mash (tender to the fork). Meanwhile, back at the ranch, slice the onion thinly and dice the leek. Peel and chop all 4 garlic cloves.
Heat olive oil on medium heat (a few tablespoons) in a large skillet and toss in the garlic. Once nice and sizzly (but not brown!) take a few spoonfuls of the garlic (and a bit of oil) and put aside in a bowl. Add the onions and leeks to the skillet. Cook until they are soft, cooked down, and getting a nice little crispiness/deliciousness on the edges.
(Stir often and cook about 15-20 minutes).
Once potatoes are boiled, drain most of water (saving A BIT). Put cooked potatoes in a bowl. Now this next step is crucial: Mash the potatoes with whatever you have on hand – I usually use a slotted spoon or a big fork for lack of anything better, and they work perfectly fine. DONT OVERMASH YOUR TATERS! It is imperative that you don’t over mash the potatoes. If you do, they will be gluey and sticky and your mouth will get stuck closed forever. Ok. maybe not, but your tuber consuming experience will be much less enjoyable if they are over mashed. I like some chunkies left over, but you can certainly mash the potatoes smooth without over doing them—get to whatever consistency is your muse and then stop!
Next, take your beautifully softened-and-browned onion/leek combination add the extra garlic set aside earlier and pour over the mashed potatoes. Add rosemary, salt, and pepper. (I recommend fresh, coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, though, any form of each will suffice). I purposely have not included amounts of the previous three ingredients for two reasons – first, every palette is different. I may like enough rosemary in my potatoes to make the dish both functional as dinner and potpourri, while you may think otherwise. Second, I encourage the chef to experiment and cook with feelings. Try things out. If you blow it this time, at least you have learned for next!
FOLD the onion/leek/garlic and condiments into the mashed potatoes. This is the other crucial step. DO NOT MASH THE HERB MIXTURE INTO THE POTATOES! Rather, fold it in, allowing the flavors to be incorporated without risking the “over mashed syndrome”. If the potatoes seem dry, don’t worry. Just add some moisture – hot water or veggie broth—adding just a little at a time (we’re not trying to make soup).
Let the dish sit for a few minutes to let the flavors incorporate. After that, maybe you will serve them nicely on a plate with some finely chopped chives sprinkled overtop. Maybe you’ll put a few rosemary sprigs as garnish. Now, enjoy!
p.s. because I tend to ramble on about minutiae, here is the abridged version for those who still want it “quick and dirty”:
sauté garlic, onions, leeks
add rosemary, s/p, sautéed onions/leeks fold in mixture to mashed potatoes eat, drink, be happy! (after all it’s close to St. Patty’s Day)