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Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat

Serves 4 to 6

Smashing low-starch potatoes into a rustic side dish is the way to go to avoid gumminess. Besides, there is always someone who loves lumps.
A big metal spoon is the best tool for making smashed potatoes where you want to retain texture and lumps.

• 1 3/4 to 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks
• Kosher salt
• 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
• 4 ounces boursin (with garlic and herbs), cut into pieces and at room temperature
• 3 scallions (white parts with some green), chopped
• Freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add a generous 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer, cover the pot partially, and cook until the potatoes are quite tender when tested with a metal skewer, 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes -- reserving some of the cooking water -- and dump them back in the pot. Dry the potatoes over medium heat, shaking the pan and stirring, until most of the moisture has steamed off. Reduce the heat to very low.

Use the side of a big metal spoon to cut through the skins and flesh of the potatoes, reducing the chunks to a very coarse mash. Stir in the butter and then the boursin. You might need to loosen the mash with a few tablespoons cooking water or as much as 1/2 cup. Don't beat vigorously or the potatoes may turn gummy. Stir in the scallions, add salt and pepper, and serve right away.

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