mardi 26 juin 2007

Boiled potatoes

With a good barbecue for instance, or a fish filet, what’s better than some simple boiled potatoes? And yet, how many disgusting canteen boiled potatoes did you already have, unpleasant to chew, tasteless, without appropriate seasoning?

Peel potatoes first. Peeled potatoes can be kept in cold water for over 12 hours.

The main trick is the homogenous cooking of potatoes. A first condition is that the potatoes have more or less the same size. If this is not the case, just cut the biggest ones in two so they basically all have the same volume. For mathematicians, the most important thing is that the smallest dimension of each piece be identical. For me, I prefer to pick potatoes the same size when I buy them.

Then it is important that you use a large pot with a thick bottom, or in copper, in which you will only have one layer of potatoes immersed in cold water. Otherwise, the different pieces will not be at the same temperature, so all your efforts to have homogenously sized potatoes would be for nothing.

By the way, this one layer business also applies to other root vegetables obviously (say a soup of pumpkin or topinambour), and to meat stews such as the blanquette.

So the potatoes are in the large pan, in cold water. There should be enough water so that the potatoes are immerged all throughout the cooking, and water will evaporate during the cooking. That said, you can add water in the course of the cooking process if needed, so that the potatoes are always entirely under water.

Salt is needed, to the amount of 10 g (a table spoon) per liter of water. I am just saying for those who feel they cannot salt “a vue”. Add a branch of thyme in the water, preferably fresh.

Pot goes on the heat, with a lid, till it boils. Lid off when the water boils, lower the heat so you still have boiling but not waste energy, and the potatoes are cooked when they offer no resistance to a knife. The cooking time depends not only on the size, but also on the nature and the freshness of the potato. It is usually between 10 (for fresh little rates) and 35 minutes (for big, old BF15).

This I learnt from Benoit Guichard, the guy who took over Jamin after Robuchon.

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