Both a staple at modest diners and a blank palette for a four-star chef's creativity, mashed potatoes absorb and transport the flavours of a meal. Whipping potatoes too vigorously with a hand mixer or putting them in a food processor can result in something akin to wallpaper paste. To achieve the desired light, fluffy texture, use high-starch potatoes like russets or Yukon golds and mash them gently by hand to prevent the release of excess starch. You can probably salvage slightly gummy potatoes. But if they've really turned to glue, you're better off disguising the texture in a casserole or potato pancakes.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp flour evenly across the surface of the mashed potatoes, assuming you started with 0.907kg. of raw potatoes, which feeds four to five people.
Drizzle 2 tbsp melted butter evenly across the surface of the mashed potatoes.
Fold the flour and butter into the potatoes with a spatula, scraping from the bottom of the bowl and mixing towards the centre.
Spread the mashed potatoes evenly into an 8x8 casserole dish, assuming you started with 0.907kg. of raw potatoes, which feeds four to five people.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs evenly across the surface of the potatoes.
Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkled evenly across the surface of the casserole, if desired. Dot the surface with 2 tbsp butter.
Bake the casserole at 177 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, or until browned on top and hot throughout.
Heat a 12-inch skillet with 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.
Fold 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tbsp melted butter and 2 tbsp sour cream into the mashed potatoes. This assumes you started with 0.907kg. of raw potatoes, which feeds four or five people.
Scoop 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes into your clean hands. Pat the glob of potatoes into a flat disk approximately 1/4 inch thick.
Dip the potato pancake into a pie plate with 1/4 cup of flour in it. Flip it over to lightly coat both sides with flour. Repeat to form eight pancakes.
Pan fry the potato pancakes in the skillet until golden brown on one side, approximately five to eight minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
Transfer the pancakes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess grease. Serve immediately with gravy or a dab of butter, or use the pancake as a base for a piece of meat or fish.