Thursday, February 09, 2006

There is more to mash than just potatoes

Ah the marvels of mashed potatoes! They can be as chunky or as silky as the cook wants them to be and they take almost any flavour you fancy to throw at them. I grew up eating tons of mashed potatoes, digging little hole in them to make lakes of gravy, sometime decorating the shores with trees of broccoli and cauliflower. Some say mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food but that, of course, is subject to debate especially considering that it is a very western centered cultural assertion.

But potatoes are not the only roots which can be mashed with success. My mom, for instance, used to add turnip, carrots and parsnips to her delicious mashed potatoes. A recent discovery of mine was taro. It is a tropical root which is delicious in stews as it absorbs flavours like no other vegetables. It can also be mashed into one of the most luscious purée.

The idea is the same as mashed potatoes but you have to make sure your taro root is not too fibrous; chose younger and smaller specimen. If you are lucky enough, your purée will show a slight purplish-blue tinge but if, like myself, your taro roots are a bit pallid your purée might end up slightly greyish; it will still taste very good but might not be very pleasant visually once on your plate.

I personally add a touch of honey and black pepper to my taro purée. They both work very well together to accentuate the flavour of the root. Green onions or chive also add a nice finishing touch, especially if your purée turn out to be a little greyish.

No comments: