These just might be the best mashed potatoes you'll ever eat. Chef Cal Stamenov of Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley infuses cream with garlic, then reduces the mixture to sweeten and concentrate the flavor. Choose the freshest new potatoes you can find for this dish: Red Bliss, baby Yukon Golds, or fingerlings. Waxy-fleshed potatoes work better than starchy varieties (like Russets) for this recipe.
garlic cloves (peeled)
heavy (whipping) cream (divided)
unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Place the garlic in a heavy-bottomed, medium saucepan. Cover with 3 inches of cold water and bring to a boil. Drain and rinse with cold water. Repeat this process 2 more times. Chop the garlic coarsely and return it to the saucepan with the first 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer gently until reduced by half or to a thick sauce-like consistency, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
Place the potatoes in a medium pan. Cover with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes.
Roughly chop the potatoes. Set a large-holed sieve or colander over a saucepan and mash the potatoes thoroughly, using a large mallet and an up-and-down motion, forcing the potatoes through the sieve.
Add the rest of the heavy cream to garlic cream and reheat until warm, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes over medium-high heat and stir with a wooden spatula until the potatoes are warm and dried out. Add the butter, several pieces at a time. Add the warm garlic cream in a slow stream while stirring, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mound mashed potatoes in individual molds or spoon out onto four plates with an entrée. Serve immediately.