A bowl of mash is one of life’s great comforts but if you feel like upping the ante in terms of flavour try the following recipe. Roasting the garlic renders it mellow and sweet but a word of warning: if you overcook the garlic it will taste bitter and unpleasant so be vigilant during its cooking. It can turn from light golden (sweet) to dark tan (bitter) in a minute. I heartily recommend using a potato ricer for the smoothest, silkiest mash and a floury spud is advised-Maris Piper or Desirée are both good.
- 1 garlic head, halved horizontally
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
- 800g potatoes (see intro) peeled and cut into 4cm pieces
- 150ml milk
- Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Place the garlic halves on a sheet of foil and pour over the teaspoon of oil. Bring up the edges of the foil to enclose the garlic and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the garlic cloves are soft and slightly coloured. Squeeze out the flesh from the skins and place in a bowl. Add the olive oil and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Set aside.
- While the garlic is roasting you can cook the potatoes: place in a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 18-20 minutes until cooked through. Drain well and cool slightly before mashing with a potato ricer or masher. Place the potato back in the saucepan. In a separate saucepan heat the milk to just below boiling point and pour over the potatoes. Beat until smooth then beat in the garlic and oil mixture. Warm the potatoes over a low heat, beating with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes. Taste and season with salt if necessary and lots of ground black pepper.