In this inventive spin on mashed potatoes, we’ve added cauliflower to the mix, which lends both flavor and moisture. As a result, you can reduce the amount of butter and cream typically needed for mashed potatoes. Another plus? You can prepare the dish completely in advance and then warm it up on the stovetop without drying it out—a big plus if you’re making these for Thanksgiving, when getting everything onto the table hot at the same time can challenge even experienced cooks. If you make the optional fried tarragon garnish, be careful when frying the tarragon sprigs, as the oil will splatter.
Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower with Fried Tarragon
Vegetable oil for frying (optional)
4 to 6 fresh tarragon sprigs for garnish (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lb. (1 kg) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 head cauliflower, cored and coarsely chopped, a few florets reserved for roasting
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) heavy cream
Aleppo pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a large, wide fry pan over medium-high heat, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of about 1/2 inch (12 mm) and heat to 350°F (180°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the tarragon sprigs and fry until the bubbling diminishes, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Let cool completely.
Combine the potatoes and chopped cauliflower in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm) and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Working in batches, pass the vegetables through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Alternatively, mash with a potato masher.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the reserved cauliflower florets with the olive oil and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
In the same saucepan used for cooking the vegetables, combine the butter and cream. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the cream just begins to simmer. Return the potato mixture to the pan, stirring it into the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the potato mixture to a serving bowl. Garnish with the tarragon sprigs and roasted cauliflower and sprinkle with chile powder. Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen