Watercress and Caper Mash

This is a recipe for mashed potato that's great served with fish. I love it with some freshly grilled mackerel or herring, and it's also extremely good with smoked fish.

Serves 4

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One

Watercress and Caper Mash
 5 oz (150 g) watercress, stalks removed
 1 heaped tablespoon salted capers or capers in vinegar, thoroughly washed and drained
 2 lb (900 g) Desirée or King Edward potatoes
 2 oz (50 g) butter
 2 tablespoons milk
 2 level tablespoons crème fraîche
 2 tablespoons lemon juice
 salt and freshly milled black pepper


Use a potato peeler to pare off the potato skins as thinly as possible, then cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks – not too small; if they are large, quarter them, and if they are small, halve them.

Put the potato chunks in a steamer fitted over a large pan of boiling water, sprinkle 1 level dessertspoon of salt all over them, put a lid on and steam the potatoes until they are absolutely tender – they should take 20-25 minutes.

The way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part: they should not be hard in the centre, and you need to be careful here, because if they are slightly underdone you do get lumps.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them, return them to the hot pan, cover with a clean tea cloth and leave for 4 minutes, then add the butter, milk and crème fraîche.

Now, using an electric hand whisk, begin to whisk slowly to break them up, then add the watercress, increase the speed of the whisk and continue whisking until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy.

Next, stir in the lemon juice and capers and add the seasoning, though you may not need much salt if you are using salted capers.

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