Mashed potatoes are not exactly Indian fare, but they are a perfect vehicle to highlight saffron. This is one of the very few recipes where we will let a spice shine solo. Saffron is precious not only for its delicate flavor but the labor-intensive methods by which it is harvested. The spice itself is the threadlike stigmas of the saffron crocus flower.
It is important here to use little water when boiling the potatoes because water is what carries the flavor of saffron into this dish. We don’t want to discard any of that flavor.
makes ~1.5 quarts
- Combine the potatoes, water, saffron & salt in a stock pot, cover & bring to a boil. Cover & simmer for 15-20 minutes then check to see if fork tender. There should be about ½ cup of water left in the pot at this point.* The water won’t cover the mashed potatoes, but that’s okay.
- Heat up the cream and ghee until just about to boil.
- Immediately transfer potato mixture into a stand mixer using the whip attachment. Beat the potato mix until mostly mashed. Pour the hot cream & butter mixture as the potatoes are whipping until smooth & fluffy.**
*The goal is to utilize all the water from boiling. This is where the nutrients from the vegetable and the saffron flavor reside. If the potatoes are starting to stick to the bottom of the pot, but are not yet fork tender, add a bit of water and let it come to a boil.
**It is key to heat up the cream & ghee. If the potatoes are cool, they will not get the smooth texture you are looking for. Move quickly so that both the potatoes & cream are hot while mixing.
ideas / variations
- Instead of cream & ghee, use coconut milk & EVOO.
- Use these mashed potatoes for the top of a shepherds pie.
- Can be made day in advance, the flavor of saffron will deepen over time, and then heated on the stove (with a bit more cream) or in the oven.