I liken the time I lived in France to the classic Audrey Hepburn movie “Sabrina” except all the refinement I got during that time was squarely focus on food seeing as I was there for culinary school.
One of the first memories I have was saving up coin to eat at L’Atelier Robuchon and being blown away by every bite. But the pureed potatoes are what really won me over. Shortly thereafter in culinary school we learned the technique for Chef Robuchon’s famed potatoes and the secret was a combination of quality potatoes, a food mill, and tons of butter.
The Food Mill Is The Key
I’m an equal opportunity potato lover but I’m always partial to these classic French potatoes — the trip through the food mill (or potato ricer — which I also use for gnocchi) makes the potatoes extra fluffy then the addition of an ungodly amount of butter makes them pure decadence.
These potatoes are not for the calorie counters or butter haters because it’s nearly 2 parts potatoes to 1 part butter at the end of the day. Truth be told, I don’t make these often but it’s often around over-the-top meals from fancy dinner parties to the holidays or even Thanksgiving.
The Garnishes Make It
You don’t have to add the garnishes of fried sage, garlic chips, and frizzled shallots but they add a layer of flavor and crunch that makes the dish IMO.
French-Style Mashed Potato Puree Recipe
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold potato
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil for frying garnish (optional)
- Handful fresh sage leaves (optional)
- 4 medium garlic cloves peeled, ends trimmed off, then sliced paper thin (optional)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour for frying the shallots (optional)
- 3 medium shallots peeled, ends trimmed off, then sliced paper thin (optional)
- Boil The Potatoes: Place potatoes in a pot of heavily salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are knife tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside to let cool slightly. Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Immediately remove from heat, cover, and set aside.
- Make The Garnishes: If you're planning to make the garnishes, start at that now. To make the frizzled shallots, toss the sliced shallots with the flour, separating them into rings. Transfer the shallots to a strainer and tap off the excess flour. Bring a small pan filled with 2-inches of oil to a simmer over medium-high heat. You want it to reach 350°F -- it's ready when you dip a wooden spoon in the oil and small bubbles form around the edge.
- When it shimmers, add garlic and cook until crisp, golden brown, and fragrant. Immediatly remove garlic to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return oil to stove to fry the sage. Add 5 to 6 leaves and fry until crisp, about 15 seconds. Using tongs or slotted spoon, remove leaves and drain on lined plate and set aside. Repeat to fry all the sage.
- Return oil to the stove, lower heat to medium-high, then add shallots and fry, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to drain thoroughly; season lightly with salt.
- Mash The Potatoes: Once potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, peel the potatoes then pass them through a food mill or potato ricers into the cooking pot. Place the pot over low heat then stir the potatoes frequently until they take on a drier, fluffier consistency, about 3 minutes. Working in batches, stir in handfuls of the butter until mixture is creamy and butter is melted. Once all butter is incorporated whisk in warmed milk, season potatoes with salt. Serve immediately or keep them warm in a slow cooker or bain marie. Top with any and all garnishes before serving.