French chef Joel Robuchon's name is pictured on his restaurant in Paris, Monday, Aug.6, 2018. Robuchon, a master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by wowing palates with the delights of the simple mashed potato and giving diners a peek at the kitchen, has died. He was 73. Photo: AP
French chef Joel Robuchon's name is pictured on his restaurant in Paris, Monday, Aug.6, 2018. Robuchon, a master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by wowing palates with the delights of the simple mashed potato and giving diners a peek at the kitchen, has died. He was 73. Photo: AP

Celebrated chef’s famous mashed potato recipe

OF ALL his culinary creations, his most famous was the lowly mashed potato.

Joël Robuchon's 'potato puree' is the dish - in his own words - that made his name in the industry.

"These mashed potatoes, it's true, made my reputation," he famously said during a demonstration of how to make the almost liquid dish.

"I owe everything to these mashed potatoes. Maybe it's a little bit of nostalgia, Proust's madeleines. Everyone has in his memory the mashed potatoes of his mother, the mashed potatoes of his grandmother."

The French Michelin-starred "chef of the century", who once threw a plate of food at Gordon Ramsay, has died at 73.

His career was one of superlatives. He was named among the best craftsmen in France in 1976, crowned cook of the century in 1990 and chosen to be one of the cooks at the "dinner of the century".

Robuchon was as serious about his potato puree as he was about any other of his dishes. But it was the potato puree that became so notable in his career, it earnt him a Michelin star.

While Robuchon was no stranger to fancy food - truffles and caviar were among his favourites - his dishes often were described as simple because he preached the use of only three or four ingredients. His goal was always to show off, not mask, their flavours.

Lathered in butter, the secret to his mashed potatoes was also about using just four ingredients.

According to Time, to make his signature dish, you'll need potatoes (Australian Dutch Creams or Golden Delight will do,) milk, butter and salt.

Firstly, you boil the potatoes until they're tender. The key to the dish is then peeling the potato while it's hot and using a food mill to puree them until they're silky smooth. Then, once the consistency is just right, whisk in hot milk and fold in cubes of ice cold butter to get the potatoes fluffy.

A food mill, used to mash and sieve soft foods, is key to the recipe.
A food mill, used to mash and sieve soft foods, is key to the recipe.

Here's the full recipe from The Complete Robuchon:

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 35 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients: 1kg potatoes scrubbed but unpeeled

Coarse salt

250g butter, diced and kept well chilled until use

250ml whole milk

Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan with 2 litres of cold water and 1 tablespoon of coarse salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until a knife slips in the potatoes easily and cleanly, about 25 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes and peel them while hot. Put them through a food mill fitted with its finest disk and into a large saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and dry the potato flesh out a bit by turning it vigorously with a spatula for about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, rinse a small saucepan and pour out the excess water but do not wipe it dry. Add the milk and bring to a boil.

4. Turn the heat under the potatoes to low and incorporate the well-chilled butter bit by bit, stirring it in energetically for a smooth, creamy finish. Pour in the very hot milk in a thin stream, still over a low heat, still stirring briskly. Keep stirring until all the milk is absorbed. Turn off the heat and taste for salt and pepper.

5. For an even lighter, finer puree, put it through a very fine sieve before serving.

Joël Robuchon was famous for his potato puree, which contained just four ingredients.
Joël Robuchon was famous for his potato puree, which contained just four ingredients.

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