In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Do not cover. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 45 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Swirl the pan over medium heat until the skins are dry, about 1 minute. Halve the potatoes crosswise. Put the halves in a ricer cut-side down and press the potato through the ricer into a bowl. The flesh should easily pass through the holes and the skins remain in the ricer. Discard the skin, and repeat with the remaining potatoes. (Alternatively, peel the cooked potatoes and put through a food mill or mash with a hand-held potato masher.)
Heat the butter and milk in the saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not boiling. Add the nutmeg, if desired, stir into the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
Variations: Add: Prepared horseradish Blue cheese Roasted garlic Chopped fresh herbs Prepared pesto Real bits of bacon Use olive oil instead of butter Prepared wasabi
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