15 March 2009

Roll me over in my grave

I am normally the most picky person in the world about my mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes, after all, fall into the category of UNTOUCHABLE, that is, we don't mess with a good thing. Jeff is always lobbying for garlic mashed potatoes, but in vain. (Let it be known that I have made them, twice, even, but you know... I just couldn't stay over on that side.) Also, mashed potatoes have to go with something hearty, like roast pork, or a roast chicken, or you know, lamb. Anything from which drippings you can have a good gravy (or even the pan drippings, who am I kidding?).

But then I saw that Mark Bittman wrote about mashed potatoes, mixed with bitter greens, and then baked into a goodness of potato loveliness. I picked up the article, then turned the page, thinking, "New mashed potatoes? Eh. No thanks." But then I kept turning back. More than a few times. I even saved the article from the recycling bin. So I went to the store, picked up some dandelion greens, made a roast chicken aaaaannnnnddd....

You know what? These are GOOD. I wouldn't take this lightly, if I were you--like I said, I am a complete and utter purist when it comes to mashed potatoes (warmed milk, butter, salt, roll me over in my grave I love mashed potatoes), and these are just good. It's like making a special green just to go with your chicken, but even better, because you don't even have to because your green vegetable is already in with the potatoes.

(Though next time, I'd skip the baking part, and just mash everything together on the stove... delish.)

Green Mashed Potatoes

2 large starchy or all-purpose potatoes (russet or yukon gold), about 1 pound, peeled and cut into quarters
1 pound dandelion or other greens, washed and trimmed of their thick stems
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
ground black pepper
1 cup homemade bread crumbs

1. Put potatoes in a large, deep pot and cover them with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until soft but not falling apart; start checking with a fork at 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain; meanwhile, add greens to water and cook for about 1 minute. Rinse under cold water. Drain well, then chop.
2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rice potatoes, or mash with a fork or potato masher, adding enough olive oil to moisten them well. Mash in the greens, adding more olive oil as needed. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.
3. Put mixture in an ovenproof dish and top with bread crumbs. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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