The pronounced potato flavor that results stands up nicely to the sweet roasted garlic
12 shallots, unpeeled
2 large heads of garlic, papery outer skin removed (leaving the head intact) plus 8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Toss together the shallots, heads of garlic, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic and shallots tightly in a foil package and roast for 1 hour.
3. Unwrap the package carefully, and let the shallots and garlic cool until they can be handled. Peel the shallots and the garlic and purée them in a small food processor.
4. Place potatoes in a large pot of boiling, salted water with the 8 peeled garlic cloves. Boil until potatoes are tender, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Drain potatoes and garlic in a colander, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.
5. When cool enough to handle, rice potatoes and garlic in a potato ricer. Return riced mixture to the pot, and cook it over moderate heat until any excess liquid is evaporated.
6. Over moderate heat, whip in the garlic-shallot purée, the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and enough of the reserved cooking water to reach the desired consistency. Serve immediately.
These mashed potatoes, too, became one of the hottest side dishes in creative American restaurants of the last decade. Our version uses no cream or milk, so it may remind you more of a potato purée than of mashed potatoes. That's good -- because the pronounced potato flavor that results stands up nicely to the sweet roasted garlic. Serves 8 as a side dish