To be honest our favorite mashed potatoes are Joel Robuchon’s famous pommes puree, silky smooth and very rich in butter. They are a little slice of heaven on earth, but they are a bit of work, what with having to pass them multiple times through a tamis, and the lengthy process of whisking in the butter and milk. They are also a very refined spud dish, and to me, feel most at home as an accompaniment to an elegant meal like a flaky fish filet, some seared scallops, or as Robuchon often serves them, with tiny, meltingly tender lamb rib chops.
On an evening when you are serving something a little less refined, like a big old rib-eye, or some beef or pork ribs, why not swing way over to the other end of things, and make a smashed potato with a more rustic texture, and maybe even a little crunch. This dish is an amalgam of some of our favorite flavors, and is perfect with roast chicken, a nice thick steak, or even a braised lamb shank. Smash it all together in a big pot just before serving for a dish quite unlike any other mashed potatoes you’ve ever had. This smash was inspired by some fabulously chunky potatoes I had at “Olives” once.
We like the stilton mixed into the potatoes so that it melts a little, spreading its pungent, salty tang throughout the dish. If some in your gang don’t care for blue cheese, feel free to pass it on the side, allowing individuals to sprinkle it over the finished dish if they wish.
- 2 1/2 pounds red skinned or yukon gold potatoes
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1 bulb fennel, roasted
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- 4 ounces stilton cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 bunch chives, finely minced for garnish
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 425℉ .
- Wash, core and roughly chop the bulb of fennel. Toss into a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour onto a baking sheet and place into the oven. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the fennel is nicely caramelized and has softened. Remove from the oven and reserve.
- Cook the potatoes in their jackets in boiling, salted water until cooked through. Drain them, then return them to the pan and smash them while heating over a low flame to help remove some residual moisture.
- With the potatoes still on low heat, add the butter and stir to incorporate, then add the creme fraiche, fennel, toasted walnuts, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place in a warmed bowl, top with crumbled stilton and chives, and serve.