Why You Should Slice Potatoes for Your Next Mash
There are a lot of ways to make puree , and almost all of them are acceptable (even, or even more so, the microwave method ). Most mashed potato recipes start the same way: Cut the potatoes into about 1 1/2-inch cubes, then boil them in boiling water until they can be easily mashed with a fork. This usually takes about 20 minutes, but as Cook’s Illustrated points out, you can cut that time in half by slicing the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds rather than dicing them.
This move is quite obvious when you think about it: a thinner potato slice will cook faster than a thicker one, and a uniform slice will cook more evenly than a skewed one. (Of course, there will be irregularly shaped pieces at both ends of the potato. That’s the nature of things that grow in the ground.) The slices also take up less space, which means you use a smaller pot and less water. (you just need enough to cover the potatoes).
You can try the complete Cook’s Illustrated recipe, which is easy to follow and flexible enough to be customized, or you can take the slicing trick from the recipe and apply it to your favorite puree (even microwaved puree).
I urge you to exercise some caution and caution if you go down this path. Getting mashed potatoes into your mouth quickly is a worthy effort and an achievable goal, but not if all that rushing makes it sticky. The longer you cook potatoes, the more starch is released, and the more likely it is that the starch will gelatinize and thicken the puree. Thinly sliced potatoes cook very quickly, so keep the water simmering rather than simmering and start checking after about seven minutes. When you can easily and without resistance pierce the center of the potato with the tip of a mating knife, you’re done. Strain them, then continue mashing as usual.