Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dining With Doc: Duchess Potatoes

For this weeks entry into the Dining With Doc canon, we will take a trip back in time. Back to a time when Epcot was spelled with all capital letters and had the word "Center" following it. A time before the Disney Decade, before the Third Gate was opened and River Country was the only water park on Walt Disney World property. Downtown Disney Marketplace was known as the Walt Disney World Shopping Village. Yes, for this weeks entry we open to page 24 in the 1986 "Cooking with Mickey Around Our World" and visit the Empress Lilly to prepare Duchess Potatoes.

For Duchess Potatoes you will need:

- 6 medium potatoes
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons chopped chives
- Salt and white pepper to taste

To prepare the dish you first peel and dice potatoes and cook in water to cover until very tender. Drain and whip in a mixing bowl; gradually beat in the egg yolks. Add cheese, chives, salt and pepper to taste, and beat until light and fluffy. The recipe calls for either using a pastry bag to form the potatoes on a buttered baking sheet or you could pile mounds with a tablespoon. I chose to use a little ‘mouse’ inspired creativity in forming each serving. I found an egg mold that we picked up a few years ago in the parks and employed a little fun to the meal. You then bake at 350 F degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned.

My wife says that I follow the recipe exactly, and I do. Trouble is, I have difficulty determining what “to taste” means where others are concerned. I admit, I have in the past enjoyed a nice flavoring of salt, but know now that this isn’t best for me. A little flavoring yes, but I tend to spare the salt more and it has an definite impact on the outcome. The combination of white pepper, which has a distinctly different flavor than black pepper, coupled with my lack of salt, brought this response from my wife, “I like your mashed potatoes better.” That is not to say she didn’t enjoy the offering, she simply thought that my liberality with salt, pepper and butter offered more taste.

By the way, my mashed potatoes are remembrance of recipe my great-grandmother used to prepare. I remember them being heavy on cracked pepper.

So how was Duchess Potatoes? I enjoyed them. True, my tendency to go “Southern” and add a bit more salt would enhance the recipe somewhat, and I will add a pinch more next time around. The addition of shaved Parmesan is nice and I think substituting other varieties, such as Smoked Gouda, would provide a slightly different flavor. Something I’ll try next time out. I've also found other recipes for Duchess Potatoes that add dried dill, garlic powder and paprika, while others call for butter with half and half cream. Variation appears to be encouraged.

As for leftovers (and there were some), I’ll add a bit of salt and warm them in a bit of oil on the stove top. Something like potato cakes. Yum.

Bon Appetite!

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