Cooking with Ceci: New twist on potatoes

Saffron potatoes can lighten up any Thanksgiving spread. (Photo by Ceci Martinez)

Saffron potatoes can lighten up any Thanksgiving spread. (Photo by Ceci Martinez)

Oh, humble and heavenly mashed potatoes, a staple on every house around the holidays. It is an easy dish that everybody loves. There are many variations to this classic dish but let me share this unique recipe that has a very special ingredient, saffron. Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower, which originally came from Asia. Is the world’s costliest spice due to the labor-intensive and handpicked way of harvesting it. This recipe requires just a pinch of golden threads of saffron; the result is a delicate flavor and golden color dish that will compliment your dinner table on the best food holiday of the year, Thanksgiving!



Time: 40 minutes / Serve: 4

2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon of saffron threads, crushed

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon of whole milk

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

tabasco sauce or your favorite hot sauce


Place potatoes in a medium-large pot, then covered with cold water by 1 inch and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Let cook until fork tender, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan (with a lid on top) over low medium heat, heat saffron, garlic and milk just until edges of milk start to bubble, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let milk scald. Remove from heat, cover saucepan and let flavors infuse for 10 minutes. Add olive oil to milk infusion and gently reheat over low heat.

Drain and mash potatoes. Fit an electric mixer with a paddle attachment an use it to whip mash potatoes. With the motor running on low-medium speed, pour oil-milk infusion into potatoes in a slow, steady stream until velvety smooth, about 1 minute.

Stir in remaining salt and tabasco to taste. Ideally, allow puree to sit in a warm place to allow saffron flavor to fully develop, about 30 minutes.

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