We set about cooking fingerling potatoes (all the same size) in 65 degree Celsius water for one hour, then iced them down so they were completely cool, and then cooked them beginning in cold water until they were tender. Once the potatoes were cooked through we pressed them through a ricer. The skins remained in the ricer and the rich, steamy flesh emerged ready to be embellished. We cooled these twice cooked potatoes down and then used them to make fingerling potato puree.
The results were amazing. The potatoes had a more potatoe-y flavor, the nutty nature of the skins seemed to permeate the flesh. The starch was gelatininzed so the resulting puree was creamy and decadent without any starchy build up. This small evolution in how we looked at the process of potato cookery actually streamlined the preparation process while allowing us to enhance the flavor in our potato puree.
Our next thoughts were about trying this approach with larger russet potatoes for our flourless potato gnocchi. We were actually able to test this idea yesterday and taste the results this morning after an intense culinary workshop with Tony Maws and his enthusiastic team at the Craigie Street Bistrot. (We will actually be talking further about this workshop since Tony is happy to let us share the experience.) As it turned out, Tony has been cooking potatoes in their jacket for twice cooked potatoes for about three years now. It was great to see we were looking at food from different angles to reach the same end goal of delicious. Tony's words on cooking potatoes in their jackets: "it just made sense, and that way we do not waste flavor and allow the potatoes to become water logged." Our thoughts exactly, just a few years later.
The potato gnocchi made from the twice cooked, unpeeled potatoes were unbelievable, the texture was simply amazing, a definite improvement on what we had previously thought to be pretty darned great. Now that is why we cook: to learn, to break through old achievements, and work with people who push us to continue to improve, refine and perfect.