In the 90's flavoured mash was all the rage. From Simon Hopkinson's “saff mash” flavoured with saffron to the ubiquitous olive oil mash, you couldn't get away from the stuff. These days, its not quite so common, probably because most chefs would rather spend their time figuring out how to palm off their kitchen scraps as a £100 “degustation menu” than make a decent plate of food. Or if they're not above serving good grub, then the St John school of new puritanism demands that mash tastes of potato and nothing else.
So lets turn back the clock and remember a time when making a pot of mash meant open season on every herb, spice and condiment under the sun. This is a fairly restrained version, but utterly delicious none the less. An optional addition of a handful of finely chopped chives would add a little colour and subtle onion flavour that will work well with the dish.
The ratio of water and salt to potato was given to me by Tim Payne, ex-Marco Pierre White head chef and it works a treat. By measuring out the water and salt instead of simply guessing, you can ensure the potatoes don't take too long to come to the boil and therefore won't overcook, and that they'll be perfectly seasoned too.
Parmesan and mustard mash
1kg floury potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre cold water
50g grated Parmesan
150ml double cream
1 dessert spoon Dijon mustard
Bring the potatoes to the boil in the water and salt and simmer until cooked through. Drain and return to the heat for a few minutes to dry out the potatoes. Pass through a potato ricer or mash until smooth. Combine the cheese, cream and mustard and heat gently until the cheese has completely melted then stir into the mashed potato. Serve with sausages, grilled meat or fish.