Just mix up the kinds of potatoes you're using. 

By Stacey Ballis
December 26, 2019
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Photo: Jen Causey; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

As much as I love mashed potatoes, I have never been an enormous fan of the skin-on mash. I don’t mind a chunky mash. I’m not adverse to rustic.. But something about the skin-on mashed potatoes has always been problematic for me in the potato pantheon.

I don’t shy away from the peel on principal, I love a loaded skin on a Superbowl buffet, or a twice-baked potato next to my prime rib. I eat the skins on a regular baked potato or roasted sweet potato all the time. Little baby spuds go down whole with no hint of peel left behind, and I don’t even mind the occasional skin-on fry or roasted chunk. So, I had to ask myself, why on earth am I so adverse to a skin-on mash?

And then I realized. Not that there is peel in the mash, but that usually there is just too much peel in the mash. The ratio is off, the balance is disturbed. The best potatoes for mashing are russets, which have a skin that is seriously tough and chew. But sometimes you do actually want that more homely mash on the plate, so I had to figure out how to make a skin-on mash that hit the perfect sweet spot between no skin and way too much skin. Turns out, it was as simple as using two kinds of potato.

By replacing a third of the weight of potatoes in my regular mash recipe with whole baby potatoes, which have super thin skin, and then peeling the rest of the potatoes completely, I get those little bits of peel in every bite, but mostly I’m still eating potato, and the skins themselves provide a bit of texture without overpowering the whole.

Watch: How Long Should You Boil Potatoes for Mashing?

Baby potatoes haven’t had time to get hardy peels, and the flesh, while too waxy to make a good mash by themselves, actually make for really yummy chunks in a mash like this. So, I’ll use, for example, two pounds of peeled russets, cubed to about the same size as my one pound of baby Yukon golds or little red skinned minis. I steam them all together, since as long as the peeled russets are cut to about the same size as the whole baby ones, they will cook at the same time. When they are super tender, I put them in a bowl and mash with a hand masher and whatever blend of butter, milk, sour cream or other add-ins I want to get a mash that is texturally interesting, but still potato forward and not all peel

This is my favorite ratio, but if you want more skin you can try half and half or even flip the ratio around for more baby potatoes than russets. If you cannot find thin skinned baby potatoes at your market, buy larger Yukon gold or redskinned potatoes and cut into chunks with the skin on, sticking with the weight ratios.