While all of Joël Robuchon’s dishes are eye candy, it his least assuming dish that is what earned him his first Michelin star and to this day is one of his most beloved dishes. His mashed potatoes (purée de pommes de terre) are simply divine. I found a recipe (http://www.slate.fr/story/67609/robuchon-puree-recette-secrets-de-cuisine) from French Slate magazine that closely resembles his famous dish and tried it out myself.
The dish requires a food mill – I purchased one from Williams Sonoma and found it to be helpful, albeit laborious.
- 2 lbs of La Ratte potatoes (ideally), Yukon gold, golden fingerling potatoes, or red potatoes– all of similar size
- 4 sticks (1 lb) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt to taste (optional Nutmeg and Pepper)
- Wash the potatoes, but do not peel them.
- In a saucepan filled with two liters of cold water and a tablespoonful of coarse salt, cook the potatoes until tender (35-40 min). You may cut the butter into small cubes, but keep them in the refrigerator.
- As soon as the potatoes are cooked, drain them, then peel them. Pass them through the vegetable mill equipped with the finest grill, over a large saucepan (this will take some arm strength). Put the pan on medium heat, lightly dry the mashed potatoes, stirring vigorously with a wooden spatula (about 5 minutes).
- At the same time, pass the small saucepan under water, empty it without wiping it. In this saucepan, boil the milk.
- On low heat, add the butter to the potatoes, very cold, very hard, and cut into pieces, stirring vigorously until it becomes smooth and creamy.
- On low heat, add the very hot milk, in small amounts, always mixing vigorously until it is completely absorbed. Taste, salt and pepper. Also, you may add a dash of nutmeg.
- To make the purée even finer and lighter, you can pass it through a very fine canvas screen.
Above is a photo of Robuchon’s pomme purée from L’Atelier (this is what I am striving for)