1. Cook the Potatoes
Put 2 pounds whole russet or Yukon gold potatoes in a saucepan; cover with cold water and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let sit until just cool enough to handle, then peel and transfer to a bowl.
Add 1 stick softened butter or 1/2 cup olive oil to the potatoes. Add 1 cup dairy (choose 1), 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper to taste; mash with a potato masher or fork.
* Plain yogurt (use 1 1/2 cups)
* Sour cream (use 1 1/2 cups)
3. Pick a Flavor (Optional)
Stir 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley, dill and chives into the potatoes.
Halve 4 heads garlic crosswise, put on a sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil; wrap and roast at 350 degrees F, 1 hour. Squeeze out the cloves; mash and stir into the potatoes.
Stir 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into the potatoes.
4. Choose a Cheese (Optional)
Fold in up to 1 cup cheese, along with up to 2 tablespoons dijon mustard or horseradish, if desired.
* Cheddar, shredded
* Gruyere, shredded
* Gouda, shredded
* Mozzarella, shredded
* Goat cheese, crumbled
* Parmesan, grated (use 1/2 cup)
5. Pick a Topping (Optional)
Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup toppings, if desired.
* Pickled peppers, chopped
* Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
* Roasted red peppers, chopped
* Parsley, dill or chives, chopped
* Scallions, chopped
* Bacon (about 1/2 pound), cooked and crumbled
* Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
* Shallots (about 6), caramelized in olive oil
Customize your own mashed potatoes or try one of our combinations:
Yogurt Mashed Potatoes With Chipotle Peppers, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallots
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes With Mixed Herbs and Cheddar
Mashed Potatoes With Horseradish and Scallions
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes With Roasted Garlic, Dijon Mustard and Bacon
Photograph by Yunhee Kim