This mashed potato recipe uses olive oil and garlic instead of the usual milk and butter for a healthy, delicious dose of Mediterranean comfort. To add some fresh herby taste, fold in a tablespoon... or two of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley before serving.
In a stockpot, add the potatoes and enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Add the 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.
Meanwhile, in a small pot on very low heat, warm the olive oil with the garlic cloves. Cook for 20 minutes, while keeping an eye on it to make sure the garlic does not burn (see Chef Tips). The garlic cloves should gradually turn a deep golden color. Remove and discard the garlic.
Return the drained potatoes to the stockpot, add the garlicky olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, and black pepper to taste. Mash the potatoes with a masher or fork. Add the reserved cooking water a tablespoon at a time, as needed, to loosen the mash. Mix 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 the 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.
For mouth sores, add a little Greek yogurt or whole milk to get the potato to the right consistency.