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Mashed potatoes are one of the most anticipated offerings in a holiday spread. And, even outside of the holiday season, potatoes are by far the most-consumed vegetable in America, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (thanks in part to the popularity of fries).
But, if you want your potato recipes even more delicious, you have to try this genius idea the next time you’re in the kitchen whipping up some mashed potatoes. As food writer and recipe developer Emma Laperruque explains at Food52, adding salt and vinegar to your mashed potatoes is a simple way to deepen and elevate your mashed potatoes without using expensive or hard-to-find ingredients. You don’t need truffle oil or freshly grated parmesan — all you need is some good old-fashioned salt and vinegar!
Although adding vinegar to your mashed potatoes might sound odd at first, it’s not too far fetched if you’ve had salt and vinegar potato chips — which are completely amazing and addictive. The simple recipe from Laperruque is just channeling those flavors into the creamy dish we put on the table instead of a crispy chip.
Why are classic salt-and-vinegar potato chips such a fan favorite? The addition of a mildly acidic vinegar to a starchy veggie like potatoes not only deepens the flavor profile, but it also helps to tenderize the tubers.
A simple, sturdy vinegar will work, such as white vinegar or rice vinegar, but avoid highly flavorful vinegar like balsamic as it may give your potatoes an odd flavor. Laperruque gives a shout-out to Heinz malt vinegar.
As Laperruque writes, most cooks only salt their potatoes once — while they are mashing them, perhaps, or after the potatoes are scooped into a serving bowl. Instead, she urges cooks to salt the water generously while boiling the potatoes, then add more salt while mashing, and THEN add flaky sea salt on top when the dish is complete.
Her stance on the vinegar is the opposite: just a splash will do. If you’re going to try it yourself, you’ll definitely want to read her recommendations on crafting some amazing salt-and-vinegar mashed potatoes before you start cooking. But we’re definitely intrigued!