• Potato mash is both satisfying and easy to make. (Chris Abbott)Source: Chris Abbott
Tips and tricks from two chefs who make a mean mash.
Seraphina Seow

15 Sep 2020 - 2:30 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2022 - 6:31 PM

--- Enjoy a taste of France at home with Guillaume Brahimi on Plat du Tour, Sundays at 6pm on SBS Food and streaming free on SBS On Demand---


When French-Australian chef Guillaume Brahimi was a child, it wasn't cookie batter that he'd lick from the wooden spoon. Instead, he'd polish off one covered with buttery mashed potato that his grandmother would hand him each time she made the family's favourite side dish.

Mashed potato was a regular fixture at the dining table back then, making a welcome appearance at least once a week.

Brahimi tells SBS Food, "I'm not a historian but I can tell you, there are plenty of potatoes in France. It's an easy dish to fill every tummy from the youngest to the oldest in the family."

"It's an easy dish to fill every tummy from the youngest to the oldest in the family."

Nowadays, he seeks to honour this staple side by sharing his mashed potato recipe, which is easy to follow and yields great mash every time.

The first step is rather counterintuitive if you're not an avid mashed-potato home cook, as Brahimi doesn't peel the potatoes first.

"Cook them whole until they are soft enough that you can put a knife through it," he explains.

Only after this does he peel the the potatoes. After that, he passes them through a mouli. To build richness, he adds boiling milk and cold butter, and works the mixture with a spoon. Voila, it's ready to serve.

Using a mouli to mash your potatoes will release minimal starch.

Paris mash

Parisian chef Joël Robuchon created pommes purée in the early 1980s. In France, the puree is made with ratte potatoes, medium-starch fingerlings. Guillaume has dubbed it 'Paris Mash' because "when I first moved to Australia, my mum would send me copies of the tabloid magazine, 'Paris Match' so I would know what was going on in my home town," he says. "It morphed into a dish."

Matteo Bruno, chef at The Meatball & Wine Bar in Melbourne, also encourages home cooks to push potatoes through a mouli or a fine mesh strainer. Bruno says, "This separates the particles and adds a bit of air and creates enough surface area for the butter and cream or milk to coat."

To avoid creating a gluggy dish, Bruno advises folding air into the potatoes with a whisk - but not overworking it.

Depending on what flavour you want, choosing milk gives a lighter finish while cream results in a mash that is more velvety and indulgent, says Bruno. Finally, he suggests using flake salt opposed to the stronger-flavoured table salt.

Potato mash is both satisfying and easy to make.

Where Brahimi's recipe is a surefire way to elevate your mashed potato without spending too much time in the kitchen, Bruno shares a recipe for the days you feel like putting on your experimental hat.

He uses desiree potatoes, which are peeled and steamed. After pushing these through a mouli or fine strainer, he sets them aside and creates a mixture of two parts butter and one part cream.

"What we do, and this is sort of a trick that anyone can do at home, is you fuse flavours into that cream and butter."

At The Meatball & Wine Bar, Bruno and his team make a rosemary cream emulsion to mix through the mashed potatoes.

"What we do, and this is sort of a trick that anyone can do at home, is you fuse flavours into that cream and butter."

Place the butter and cream mix in a pot on the stove on low heat and add a bunch of rosemary.

"Let it come to temperature and very gently bubble away so that rosemary flavour goes into the cream and butter.

"That can be as quick as an hour or we can leave it there for three or four hours to get a bit more intensity."

After that, strain the emulsion and season it with salt, pepper and a hint of nutmeg. While the rosemary emulsion is warm to hot, Bruno combines it with the potatoes with a whisk. The potatoes should be roughly the same temperature as the emulsion.

"This can be done with any herb, bouquet of multiple herbs, or spice," says Bruno.

What a way to jazz up your mash.

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