Olive Mashed Potatoes
I came up with the idea of making olive-flavored mashed potatoes (purée de pomme de terre aux olives) while strolling through Parisian open-air markets. Most of them carry the most delicious varieties of olives that are not overly salty. After tasting many varieties, I bought delicious bright green olives that are large, meaty and slightly sweet with a nutty taste to the palate.
Parisian kitchens in general are tiny and contain the bare minimum when it comes to cooking. I mashed the potatoes using the back of a fork, pitted and coarsely chopped the olives and finally mixed them into the purée, adding a little crème fleurette (cream). My husband Lulu loved it and was totally impressed that I was able to pull it off in our tiny kitchen!
Besides visiting museums and monuments in Paris with Lulu, I have to admit that perusing the Parisian open-air markets was my favorite activity! Tasting and seeing the wonderful colors and produce gave me so many ideas and inspirations for new flavor pairings. I’ll be sharing them soon.
Yields: 4 servings2 pounds potatoes (see tips)
2-¼ teaspoons salt, to taste
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
2-½ cups cream (see tips), to taste
2/3 cup pure olive oil, to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
10 ounces whole green olives (see tips), to taste
1 tablespoon curly parsley leaves, chopped
Prepping the olives: Pit and coarsely chop the olives.
Boiling the potatoes:
Cut the potatoes in half if they are too large.
Wash the potatoes and place them in a large pot (no need to peel them). Add cold water until the potatoes are barely covered. It's important to start with cold water so the potatoes cook evenly. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to medium-high (if you cook the potatoes at a roaring boil, they might fall apart). As soon as the water reaches a boil, cook for about 25-30 minutes. Test, using a fork; the potatoes should be tender. Remove from the pot. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and let them cool a little (do not rinse). Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle and have dried completely, gently remove the skin using a paring knife. Cut them into large cubes.
Warm the cream, separately, for a few minutes in a saucepan.
Return the potatoes to a non-stick pot over low heat (to ensure there is as little liquid as possible). Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook the potatoes for about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using the back of a fork (or a potato ricer if you're well-equipped), mash the potatoes. Add the remaining olive oil, nutmeg, 2 cups of warm cream, white pepper and 1 teaspoon of parsley (if used). Stir well, using a wooden spoon.
Add more cream until you reach the desired consistency (I used an additional ½ cup of cream). Add the chopped green olives and mix well. Finish with parsley.
Serving suggestion: I paired the mashed potatoes with rabbit sausage and mâche salad (it's known as "lamb's ear lettuce" in the U.S).
I used crème fleurette, which is a liquid version of crème fraîche. You could also use regular heavy cream or milk for a lighter version.
I used Lucques olives (they're exclusively French but they're available on Amazon). They originated from the Hérault region (le Languedoc), in the South of France. They're picked from September until mid-October, then they're cured in brine. They're absolutely delicious; I think they have an aroma of watercress with a hint of berries. The flesh is quite firm. They're ideal paired with poultry and potato dishes. I also like to serve them as appetizers. Just wrap a Lucques olive with a small piece of cabecou de Rocamadour in 2 fresh mint leaves and thread the whole thing onto a cocktail pick.
I bought Ratte potatoes, which are quite popular potatoes grown in Europe. The are small and elongated with a golden skin and firm yellow flesh. They also required quite a long time (about 30 minutes) of boiling time. You could use other varieties of potatoes such as Bintje, Mona Lisa, Agria, Manon (in France), Yukon Gold or Russet (in the US).
If you re-heat the mashed potatoes, it's preferable to use a double boiler. For an easy double boiler, place the mashed potatoes in a heat-proof bowl over a larger-sized saucepan filled with simmering water. I always like to add a little kitchen towel underneath the bowl. That way the bowl won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in the mashed potatoes.Published By: on January 14, 2011.