The anchovy and crème fraîche paste gives these mashed potatoes a tangy, salty, umami finish, which makes it way more exciting than a stodgy filler. I think things like roast lamb, white fish, cooked ham, haggis and, of course, sausages work really well with it. Plus I like to partner it with other sides that have a bit of bite: verdant greens, bitter leaves and/or sides with a crunch.
When boiling potatoes for mash, use a large, full saucepan of water, to disperse the starch; use cold water so the potatoes will cook evenly as it heats; choose a floury potato variety; and mash or rice the potatoes thoroughly before using plenty of elbow grease to beat them to a smooth purée. By all means substitute the flesh of baked potatoes if you prefer, although you’ll need to start with 1.5kg potatoes, as baked potatoes lose moisture and boiled take it on when cooking.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 50 g tinned anchovy fillets in oil, roughly chopped and oil reserved
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 120 g crème fraîche
- 1 kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, Russet or Yukon Gold
- 150 ml milk, warmed
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To make the anchoïade, mash the anchovies, garlic and a pinch of salt to a smooth paste in a pestle and mortar. Add the oil from the anchovy tin a drip or two at a time, stirring with the pestle until it emulsifies. Gradually add the vinegar, still stirring, then season with a couple of grinds of black pepper. Scoop the crème fraîche into a bowl and fold the anchovy paste into it. Set aside until needed.
- Peel the potatoes and dice them into 5–7 cm chunks. Put them in a large pan of salted cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until you can crush a potato easily with the back of a fork. Drain and leave them to steam for 2 minutes (to mash them immediately would lead to gloop).
- Mash or rice the potatoes thoroughly. Mix the warm milk in, one third at a time, using a wooden spoon to beat the potatoes to a smooth purée. Add the anchoïade, a good pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Use that wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease one more time, then serve.