Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic
I love mashed potatoes. They are the most comforting food I know of. This recipe uses olive oil and garlic instead of the usual milk and butter, for a healthy, yummy dose of Mediterranean comfort! If you want to add some fresh green taste, not to mention vitamins A & C, fold in a tablespoon or two of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley before serving.
1. Cover the potatoes with cold water by 1 inch in a stockpot. Add salt and bring to a boil. Partially cover and simmer until very tender, about 15 minutes depending on their size. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain.
2. Meanwhile in a small pot on very low heat, cook the olive oil with the garlic cloves. Cook for 20 minutes keeping an eye to make sure the garlic does not burn. The garlic cloves should gradually turn a deep gold. Remove and discard the garlic.
3. Return the drained potatoes to the pot, add the garlicky olive oil, pinch of sea salt and fresh black pepper. Mash with a potato masher or fork. Add the reserved cooking water as needed, a tablespoon at a time, to loosen the mash. Beat in the parsley if using. Serve.
Cooking garlic slowly in olive oil gives the oil a wonderful sweet, nutty, garlicky taste. It’s important to keep the heat low so that the garlic doesn’t blacken and burn. If it looks like your garlic is cooking too fast, turn the heat down further. If it burns, instead of nutty sweetness, there will be bitterness. Olive oil shouldn’t ever get to smoking point. When it burns, it chemically changes from being beneficial to health to carcinogenic.