Friday, October 29, 2010

Appetite For Life: Potato Smash!

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I’ve started pouring through my cookbooks, looking for inspiration for new and exciting ideas for our holiday gatherings. This year, my husband and I will be hosting our family’s Christmas meal, so the pressure is on to create an amazing menu that will satisfy everyone. I always try to maintain a balance between traditional dishes and new, bold flavors.
One dish that I’m always looking to improve upon is potatoes. Simple recipes with butter, salt, and pepper are always good, but with a delightful blank palette like potatoes, it’s a shame to only add such simple ingredients to them. I recently added Julia Child’s Gratin Dauphinois (a potato gratin recipe) to my repertoire, and it’s become a staple in our home now. I’ve also been experimenting with mashed potatoes, creating my own recipes for them.

Last week, I stopped by the grocery store to find some new ingredients for the mashed potatoes I was preparing for dinner. When I entered the store, I had nothing in mind as far as the direction I wanted to take with the dish. As I started down the aisles of the produce section, the first things to catch my eye were the shallots. I grabbed three of them and headed to the deli. The array of cheeses was overwhelming. Did I want to use Gruyère or Emmentaler? Gouda or Feta? The Gorgonzola is what finally drew me in. I knew the strong flavor would pair well with shallots. I then picked up the Boursin to add creaminess and a hint of herbs to the dish.

With all of the rich flavors, the dish was a smash that night. I plan on trying some other combinations between now and Christmas, hoping to find the “one” that will be a part of my holiday table.

Blue Cheese and Shallot Mashed Potatoes
• 1 ½ lbs. fingerling potatoes
• 5 oz. Boursin Garlic & Herbs Cheese
• 4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese
• 2 T of olive oil
• 2-3 shallots, thinly sliced
• Milk, as needed for consistency
• Salt & pepper, to taste

Scrub the potatoes and place in a pot with 6 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender. While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the shallots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Drain the water and return the potatoes to the pot. Using a potato masher or fork, start breaking the potatoes apart into smaller pieces. Next, add the Boursin and Gorgonzola and continue mashing the potatoes. If the potatoes are too thick, slowly add the milk to thin them out to the consistency you desire. Lastly, gently stir in the shallots and add salt and pepper to taste.

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