Now, if you have joined us on the food and culture tour, you will confirm that one of the most popular dishes served include the potato mash at the Cestr restaurant. Yes, the simple mash blows everyone away. Why? Well, because it is not that simple. The “milk mash”, as they call it at Cestr, is a bit more difficult to prepare that your ordinary mash, but the result is worth it. You should not expect a Joel Robouchon-style butter fest but a delicious, fluffy mash with silky smooth texture. You know it’s good when you go to a specialty steak house and the potato mash still gets a special mention every single time, right?
Now the good people at Cestr, or, more precisely, Mr Lukas Drab, Cestr's sous-chef, have published the recipe for their famous mash in the monthly magazine issued by the Ambiente group of restaurants (which include Cestr). Just in time for the Thanksgiving dinner preparations. What a coincidence! Now if you want to be the star of the Thanksgiving family dinner, or if you just want to prepare a really good potato mash, read on. We are reprinting the recipe with the original photos, which we kindly given to us by the management. The key to the recipe is following the instruction, and not counting the calories!
Cestr's recipe is based on the following ingredients:
- 1.8 kg (4 pounds) potatoes
- 1 liter (34 oz) milk. The potatoes will cook in milk, so you should have enough milk to cover the potatoes in the pot. We are talking about whole (full-fat) milk, preferably organic.
- 100 g (7 tablespoons) butter
- a bit of salt. The exact amounts of butter and salt may vary and you should adjust them to your taste.
It all starts with the selection of the right potatoes. Here’s the rule of thumb: they should be good. Go figure, right? They should be firm and not too starchy, and should be free of sprouts. They do tend to change the selection of the exact variety at Cestr, so you don’t have to worry about that very much. Our guests did not get to taste the mash during the summer. The explanation is simple: new potatoes are not suitable for the mash, since their higher water content will break the texture. That is why they wait for about two months in the summer and then start making the mash again only when the potatoes are ready.
1. First of all, peel the potatoes and soak them in water to get rid of the starch. At Cestr, they soak the potatoes over night, but half an hour will do in household conditions.
2. Cut the potatoes to smaller cubes and cook them in water for about 5 to 10 minutes, continuously scraping off any starch foam that is created on the surface.
3. Get rid of the water and simmer the potatoes in hot milk. The milk should be hot, not cold. (Cold milk will stop the cooking process and that’s bad for the mash). The milk should simmer, not boil. The more fatty the milk, the easier it burns at the bottom of the pan. Cook the potatoes until very soft for 25 minutes or so.
4. Drain the potatoes, keeping the excess milk of later use.
5. Put the potatoes in a mixer bowl, add butter, and start mixing with a whisk. First whisk without any milk and start adding the milk later to achieve a silky texture of the milk. The amount of milk needed may dramatically vary depending on the variety of the potato used.
Finally, a word about salt: Salt is added when the potatoes simmer in milk, and then again when the mash is being whisked.
We hope you will enjoy the recipe!!! If you do follow it (and we hope you will), please comment on the results and do post pictures of your mash! Happy Thanksgiving!