Here are my tips for the perfect potatoes.
1. Select flavorful potatoes to start. I really like Yukon Gold potatoes. I also like russets, which make delicious mashed potatoes.
2. Boil the potatoes in their skins. This keeps the part of the potato you will be using from becoming water logged. Once the potatoes are boiled, remove the skins.
3. Whatever you do, don’t beat the potatoes. Using any kind of a mechanical beater will remove lumps, but it also binds the starches in potatoes and makes them gluier. Instead, I use a potato ricer. Put manageable chunks of the peeled hot potatoes through the ricer into a bowl.
4. Don’t use milk or cream. It creates gloppy potatoes. Instead, melt some unsalted butter (using unsalted allows you to control the amount of salt in your dish) and pour it over riced potatoes. Give the potatoes a quick mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. This keeps the taters fluffy because the fat from the butter coats the starches, keeping it light.
5. Before you serve, taste the potatoes for seasoning and add sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper a little at a time until you get the right seasoning. You need some salt, because salt enhances flavors, but you probably don’t need nearly as much as you think. That’s why I suggest adding a little at a time, tasting, and adjusting as you go.