Growing up, my dad used to make mashed potatoes a lot. He took it very seriously. It involved a certain type of potato (Russet for those keeping tabs at home), peeled, cut into 3 inch pieces, put into cold water, heavily salted, brought to a boil, and cooked 12 minutes until there was a slight resistance to the fork. The potatoes were then strained, put back in empty pot over low heat to dry them out and squeezed through a potato ricer (no lumps in this dish!). Then an unholy amount of butter, salt and cream were added in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. He might be a little OCD about it but... the man made some really good mashed potatoes.
I am not making those mashed potatoes.
4-5 new potatoes
1/4 stick of butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons heavy cream
lots of kosher salt
Different varieties of potato cook in different ways. There is a pretty extensive list of them and their best uses here. For this recipe I used Red Gold, a new potato. New potatoes are harvested earlier in the season and not cured so their skin is thin. They are meant to be eaten relatively quickly while other varieties, like Russet, are cured in the field or in a cool dark place to thicken up their skin so they can be stored for long periods of time (kinda like summer versus winter squash).
Since I am using a new potato, I want to leave those delicious tender skins on. If I was going to do Dad mashed potatoes, and go with the Russets, I would definitely peel the skin. I gave these a rough chop to ensure that they would cook faster. I tried to keep the pieces equal in size so they would cook evenly.
Add the potatoes to a pot of cold, heavily-salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook until fork tender. Please pay no mind to how dirty my stove top is. I've been told it adds character.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl with a whisk attachment. You can do this without a stand mixer and whip together by hand with lots of elbow grease.
Add the cooked and strained potatoes and whip away! Make sure to stick your finger in and keep tasting and adding salt until they taste amazing. The creme fraiche adds a subtle tartness. If you don't have any lying around (who does really?), don't want to make a trip to the store or can't find any, substitute with plain yogurt or sour cream. Serve liberally and enjoy!