I have often pondered ideas about starch. In our Methocel potato tubes we use traditional mashed potatoes to make the base. The starch is present and despite an extensive amount of shearing in the creation process, the tubes are tender and soft, the bit of bite present is due to the Methocel. That led me to looking at ways to keep the starch available when making Activa bound potato gnocchi. Unfortunately, when I followed the exact recipe for our twice cooked potato gnocchi, except for the twice cooking, I was left with a potato soup rather than a dough or farce. Since the potatoes were fluid, I decided to pour them into a plastic tray and set them in an even layer, since piping into tubes was out of the question. In retrospect, I could have poured the potatoes into a variety of molds, though for my first run, a large plank made sense.
After 18 hours in the refrigerator, I checked the potato plank. I pushed on it with my finger and there was a bit of spring. I pulled out the tray and cut a piece off the plank. It was potato puree with a set structure. I then heated up a saute pan and browned a piece. The results were a crispy exterior with a soft and tender center. If we set this puree in cube forms we would have amazing potato croquettes. In fact, we could set a molten center into the potato cube and when it is fried and cut open, it will ooze a beautiful sauce: perhaps hollandaise sauce or black truffle fondue. That is now on the to do list.
Since I did not plan the results of the potato plank I used recent inspiration to spark the next idea. In the comments on Seasoning a Potato the idea of mashed potato gnocchi was mentioned. I guess I had mashed potato on the brain, as I was cutting the plank the idea of dicing it and sauteeing the pieces in butter to create mashed potato croutons became irresistible. The potato puree plank cut easily and I was able to quickly dice a handful of small cubes. While I was doing this, I put a pan on the stove to heat up. When the pan was hot I added a small amount of olive oil and butter. When the butter was melted I added the potato puree cubes and then slowly sauteed them, gently rolling them in the hot fat in order to evenly toast their exterior. When the croutons were uniformly colored, I removed them from the pan, drained them on a paper towel and seasoned them with salt. Thankfully Aki was quick with the camera because I was almost as quick at devouring these delicious, little bites.