A little less than a month ago, we had a gala for the local chamber that I am a part of. This year, I was the co-chair of the gala planning committee. One of the great perks of this role is do a menu tasting and pick out what we want to serve at the event. The best thing I tasted that day was fennel whipped potatoes, which oddly enough, ended up on the gala menu 😉 I was looking forward to the day of the gala for weeks, just thinking about getting to eat those potatoes again. Sadly, they weren’t as good as the first time 😦
But, the good news is that I have the capability to make them myself. So I did, for our friend’s Thanksgiving over the weekend. I changed up the recipe a bit, as I couldn’t bear to not have butter in my potatoes on Thanksgiving (maybe when it’s just Nate and I, I’ll try the olive oil). Also, I ended up making more than 4 lbs of potatoes (someone told me it didn’t look like enough – and now we’ll be eating potatoes until they’re coming out our eyeballs!), probably more like 8 lbs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more fennel bulbs than what the recipe called for, so while I could taste the fennel, there wasn’t quite enough for my potato addition. These were still fun to try for a new spin on Thanksgiving, plus I got to use my new (very old, new to me) potato ricer (thanks, Mom!) Boy, were my arms hurting after ricing 8 lbs of potatoes 😦 These potatoes were so fluffly and light, I can’t wait to make them again!
Fennel Whipped Potatoes
Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 medium fennel bulbs, halved lengthwise, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup half and half
8 tbsp unsalted butter
freshly ground pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes over moderately high heat until fork-tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, set a steamer basket in a large saucepan with 1/2-inch boiling water. Add fennel, cover and steam over moderate heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer fennel to food processor or blender. Add half and half and puree.
3. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Shake potatoes over high heat until thoroughly dry. Working over a large bowl, mash the potatoes through a ricer. Using a hand mixer, whip potatoes and add in butter and fennel puree. Add salt and pepper to taste.