Like arugula in a salad bowl and balsamic vinegar in a dressing, Yukon Golds, virtually unknown before the 1990s, have taken over the market, satisfying consumers hungry for a change of pace from everyday white potatoes. The Yukon Gold was developed in Canada in the early 1980s, hence the name. It grows round or lightly elongated and has fairly smooth yellow flesh and skin and distinctive pinkish eyes. It has become a staple, the newall-purpose potato, grown on both coasts and widely sold in supermarkets. Unlike many of the newer varieties, farmers are harvesting larger sizes, not just small ones. Some markets sell generic gold potatoes, which are not Yukons but come close. Is it the yellow color, suggesting a buttery taste, that explains their appeal?
The secret to making good mashed potatoes? Use a potato ricer to do the mashing and heat the milk before adding it. If need be, you could mash potatoes with a fork or with one of those utensils that crushes the potatoes with a heavy zigzag wire, but neither one is as effective as a ricer. Under no circumstances should you attempt to mash potatoes in a food processor. The result will be a gluey mass. As for which kind of potato makes the best mashed? The current consensus is the medium- to highstarch Yukon Gold, which seems to have a buttery quality all its own. These mashed potatoes are seasoned with what might seem like an abundance of garlic. But the garlic has been tamed by simmering it with the potatoes, instead of using it raw.
Substitutes: German Butterball, Yellow Finn
Yield: 6 Servings
Place the potatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, decrease the heat to medium, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
In a separate small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan.
Drain the potatoes and garlic and mash together, preferably using a ricer. Return the potatoes to the saucepan and add the hot milk, fluffing the potatoes with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the desired amount of butter and serve at once.
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The Great Potato Book
by Florence Fabricant
Foreword by Charlie Trotter
Ten Speed Press 2001
$15.95 paper; 160 pages
Reprinted by permission.
This page created December 2001
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