Factor in all the holiday get-togethers you'll be going to and what you'll be eating there; those pieces of pie, those cookies, candies, bread and just around the time you'll be opening your Christmas presents, you just might be carrying around a few more pounds of holiday cheer than you'd like.
This year, I'm only eating those things that really make me happy. Sure I'll have that pumpkin pie but I'll leave off the whip cream and I'll skip the hot cocoa. I'm also making smart choices about what I serve at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Flavors that pop, variety and tradition are what I'm going for. So while I'll be making grandma's favorite gravy, I'll be serving it on the side and I'm searching out full-flavor recipes that don't call for lots and lots of butter.
These Roasted Garlic Potatoes will save me from using my usual cup of butter. They have that perfect, light consistency and lots of flavor. For the drizzle, I recommend using high-quality olive oil (Laudemio is my personal favorite). You can also make your own garlic olive oil a few days in advance.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Russet Potatoes with Olive Oil
Also called the baking or Idaho potato, the russet potato's low moisture and high starch content yields wonderfully light and fluffy mashed potatoes. *Note- a ricer also helps tremendously, so get one! Once these mashed potatoes are plated, you can drizzle them sparingly with garlic or herb-infused extra-virgin olive oil, truffle oil, or plain high-quality olive oil.
Yield: 4 servings
2-1/2 pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 bay leaves
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Roasted garlic (recipe to follow)
1. In a large pot, add the potatoes and bay leaves. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Once it reaches a rolling boil, lower the heat to medium and cover partially. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain in a colander and discard the bay leaves.
2. Set the potato ricer on the rim of a medium bowl. Half fill the ricer with cooked potatoes and press them through. Repeat until all the potatoes have been riced or pureed.
3. Add half of the roasted garlic and all of the olive oil to the potatoes and beat with a wooden spoon until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want a more pronounced garlic flavor, add the remaining mashed garlic.
4. Mound the potatoes in a warmed serving bowl. Pass the olive oil at the table for guests to add to taste.
2 heads recently purchased garlic (the bulb should feel very firm when squeezed)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To remove extraneous papery skin on the garlic bulb, simple rub the outside of each garlic head with your hands, you do not need to remove all of the skin. Place each garlic head on its side and cut ½ inch off the top, pointed side of the garlic head. Place the heads, cut side up, in a garlic roaster or small baking dish (a small cocotte or gratin, no bigger than 4 inches is fine too). Drizzle each head with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover the garlic roaster or baking dish with aluminum foil. You can also dispense with the dish altogether and wrap each garlic head in a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Roast for 1 hour, or until garlic cloves are soft when squeezed with a mitted hand. Remove from the oven and let cool.
2. Separate cloves of garlic and pinch each clove at the stem end and then press on the clove to squeeze the softened garlic out into a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and dash of pepper and mash with fork until blended.