Choose those of equal size. They look better when thinly peeled before they are boiled; but it is more economical to boil them before skinning, as careless cooks generally pare away half of the potato in the operation, and the best part of the potato is that which lies nearest the skin. Put them into an iron pot or saucepan in just enough well-salted cold water to cover them. Let them boil until they are nearly done; then pour off all but about half a cupful of the water in the bottom of the pot; return the potatoes to the fire, put on a close cover, and let them steam until quite done; then remove the lid, sprinkle salt over them, and let them remain a few moments on the fire to evaporate the water. Remove them care-fully, and serve immediately. They should be dry and flaky.
If one has a cook too heedless to steam the potatoes proper-ly, it should be remembered that potatoes should never be al-lowed to soak in the water a moment after they are done; the water should be immediately poured off, and the steam evapo-rated. It is important that potatoes should be done just at the moment of serving. It requires about thirty-five minutes to boil the medium-sized.
Pare the potatoes; cover them with cold water; boil them gently until they are done. Pour off the water, and sprinkle salt over them; then with a spoon take each potato and lay it into a clean, warm cloth; twist this so as to press all the moist-ure from the vegetable, and render it quite round; turn it care-fully into a dish placed before the fire; throw a cloth over; and when all are done, send them to the table immediately. Potatoes dressed in this way are mashed without the slightest trouble.
Every one thinks she can make so simple a dish as that of mashed potatoes; but it is the excellence of art to produce good mashed as well as good boiled potatoes. In fact, I be-lieve there is nothing so difficult in cookery as to properly boil a potato.
To mash them, then, first boil them properly. Put into a hot crock basin, which can be placed at the side of the fire, half a cupful or more of cream, a piece of butter the size of an egg, plenty of salt and pepper, and let them get hot. One of the secrets of good mashed potatoes is the mixing of the ingredients all hot. Now add six or seven potatoes the moment they are done, and mash them without stopping until they are as smooth as possible; then work them a very few moments with a fork, and serve them immediately. Do not rub egg over, and bake them; that ruins them. Much depends upon mashed potatoes being served at table hot, and freshly made. They are very nice prepaied à la neige.
These are mashed potatoes made as in the preceding receipt, pressed through a colander into a dish in which they are to be served. The potatoes then resemble rice or vermicelli, and are very light and nice. They make a pretty dish, and must be served very hot. They make a favorite accompaniment to venison, and are often served around a rolled rib roast of beef.