Who’s Got Thyme – Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
I know its practically un-American, and it would certainly make many of my Irish ancestors gasp in shock and horror to hear me say this, but I have never been much of a fan of potatoes. Yes, I know, Quelle Horreur! Now, it must be said, I have nothing against tubers – yams, rutabaga, turnips, and sweet potatoes all suit my taste just fine. But until recently I had thought of the Potato, King of the Tuber Band, as little more than a starchy calorie bomb, and, dare I say, a bit bland. Potatoes just didn’t do it for me, and with their reputation as an nutritionally devoid “guilty pleasure” I was not enticed to dig for evidence of more redeeming qualities.
And then, light a lightening bolt, I had some potatoes which shook my world. We were in New Hampshire at an Organic Hostel and Camping ground called D Acres. It was early in the morning, Dustin and I were excited to dig into the farm table breakfast that the hostel prepared. It was the perfect filling and nutritious meal, and would power us through the many hikes and climbs we would take on that afternoon. On this morning the hostel staff had roasted some small multicolored new potatoes they had just plucked out of the dirt behind the hostel. The potatoes were simply roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper, I took a few, expecting no major revelation in flavor, only to be thoroughly wowed.
The potatoes that I had at D Acres that morning had this amazing mineral-y flavor that I had never tasted in a potato before. The flavor was reminiscent of a parsnip, slightly nutty and a a bit herbaceous. The farm hands attributed this amazing flavor to good organic soil and regular crop rotation, when you think about it, potatoes spend their entire growing cycle buried deep in the earth. It makes sense, therefore, that they would draw a great deal of their flavor from the soil that surrounds them.
As I found out while doing research for this post, potatoes are not as nutritionally devoid as I initially thought. A medium-size potato with the skin provides an excellent source of Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B6, as well as trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. As one of the most highly sprayed crops, potatoes are one crop that I advise buying “organic” whenever possible. Look for firm potatoes with few eyes and no green splotches as these are the most evenly “ripe” and flavorful.
Olive Oil and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 Head of Garlic, Roasted
3 Pounds Organic Red Skin Potatoes, Peeled and Cut into Large Chunks
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 C Heavy Cream
2 -3 Large Springs Thyme
Freshly Cracked Pepper
Put a large pot of water on over high heat, bring to a boil and season with salt. Add potatoes and cook at a low boil until just tender. Drain well in a colander.
Place olive oil, heavy cream, thyme, mashed roasted garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt and pepper in the bottom of the empty pot. Place over lowest heat setting and allow the garlic and thyme to infuse the olive oil and cream.
Rice the potatoes into the pot and add any remaining potato skins that would not pass through the ricer. Stir with a wooden spatula as gently as possible. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!