Today: a completely manageable, non-taxing, leisurely recipe and succinct-ish surrounding blog post for you.
But yeah, nah, really. I’m going to make this pretty quick. I’m tired. It’s my own fault, I stayed up late watching Parks and Rec with Tim the other night and now I’m paying for it, partly with exhaustion and efflorescent eyeballs, and partly with faint embarrassment that I’m really tired because of a TV series, not anything involving glamorous shoes or being outside the house. But then I think of Ron Swanson and such dedication all makes sense.
Yams seem to be reasonably priced these days, and what’s rather fantastic about them is that you can just throw them into boiling water, whole and untampered, and their doubtful looking solid red exteriors melt away and will combust into mash at the barest pressure of a fork’s tines. No peeling, no chopping, no trimming. The texture isn’t silky smooth, but as long as you can see that coming, you’re all good.
There is in the yam a light and clean sweetness, with an almost lemony astringence. This makes it entirely ideal to be sullied by rivulets of butter and crunchy fried garlic cloves. When you let the butter go brown in this way, every good thing about it is deepened and accentuated, and it becomes nutty and caramelly and salty and very, very wonderful.
Mashed Yams with Garlicky Browned Butter
As I made this up on the spot (although am probably not the first person to eat this combination of ingredients) the quantities are really up to you. Go with what you need in your heart. I would suggest more yams than butter, but not to the point where you have to squint to taste it. Maybe 750g yams, 75g butter and 3 cloves garlic would be good for 2-3 people.
Tip your yams, whole, into a good sized pot/pan and top up with water to cover them. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer away energetically. They’ll lighten up considerably. When you can easily plunge a fork into their flesh, they’re ready.
While they’re boiling, roughly chop up some garlic cloves. Heat a decent amount of butter – as much as you feel is necessary at the given time – in a saucepan and throw in the chopped garlic cloves.
Let the butter get properly brown and bubbling. It’ll separate into a kind of rust-red sediment and a nut-coloured liquid, and the garlic cloves will darken considerably. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Drain the cooked yams, and press down on them with a fork, stirring to mash them. Feel free to mash them with a decent splash of buttermilk if you like.
Divide between as many plates as matches your quantity of mash, and spoon over the butter.
This is a decent alternative to mash potato especially since, as I outlined already, you don’t have to peel or trim or chop yams. They take a little while to cook but not nearly as long as their denser-celled tuber friends. It tastes comforting, because it’s soft and buttery and warm, and it’s comforting to make, because you barely have to do anything. Probably the most stressful thing is trying to peel the garlic cloves and having their papery cases cling to you, static-like and persistent. The idea is to properly brown the garlic in the butter, each granule becoming chewy and rich, embiggening even those bitter, burning garlic cloves which I can’t seem to avoid lately.
Please continue to feel free to indulge me by voting for my cake on the Wellington on a Plate Bake Club photo competition. A massive thank you and held-slightly-too-long hug to everyone who has so far and shared it on their own page. Voting closes on the 25th, so after that no need to worry.
Title via: La Cage Aux Folles, I Am What I Am. Yes, that song on the shampoo (or whatever it was) ad came from a Broadway musical. One in which George Hearn showed off his considerable lungs (and presumably legs, too.)
Lady Day and John Coltrane from Gil Scott-Heron’s Pieces of a Man record. We found it recently and it has taken a lot for us to play anything else.
MF Doom, Fenugreek. Not sure if I like this best on its own or as sampled in Ghostface Killah’s 9 Milli Bros, but either way it’s a flipping sensational track.
Next time: I made Salted Caramel Slice from the new Cuisine magazine. Be still my already struggling heart, it is mightily delicious.