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Mashed potatoes are as American as apple pie?

Well maybe not. Mashed potatoes are quite popular in many other countries. Earlier this week, I put forth a recipe for buttermilk mashed potatoes. I must say that the variations in this dish are quite limitless.

Do any of you remember the recipe in February for Colcannon – an Irish mashed potato dish with kale or cabbage and green onions? It was simply delightful. Here’s a short list of other ingredients you can consider for your mashed potatoes:

Onions

Sautéed onions
Caramelized onions
Sautéed leeks
Green onions
Crispy fried onions

Cheeses

Cheddar cheese
Cream cheese
Blue cheese
Parmesan cheese
Your favorite cheese
Fresh crushed garlic
Roasted garlic

Fresh herbs and/or spices

Nutmeg
Rosemary
Thyme
Parsley
Wasabi
Hot peppers like jalapeno

Others

Butter
Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mustards

When considering these additives, also think about what else will be on the plate so flavors don’t clash. Remember not to over do it with the flavor additions. The mild taste of the potatoes needs to stay front and center.

You do have a choice of potato, too. Standard will always be the Idaho potato, or russet potato. But Yukon Gold is a favorite for its natural buttery flavor. Red potatoes aren’t used too often, but they are great in “smashed potatoes.” These are not quite as mashed as the traditional dish, but they can be just as tasty.

One variation I used a couple of weeks ago was to fold in some grated medium sharp cheddar cheese. Then I spread the mashed potatoes into a buttered baking dish so the potatoes were about 1 ½ inches thick. Last I sprinkled a little more grated cheese on the top and then placed it in the broiler. Just long enough to melt the cheese on top and caramelize it slightly. Placed in the center of the table it was a big hit.

Please do try a few different variations, its all about discovery!