I recently catered to a 25th wedding anniversary and was asked by the couple if I could create a dish especially for them. This is quite a common request when I cater and I absolutely love the challenge!
In this instance, the lady is Italian and her husband, English. I think mashed potatoes are a wonderful base for so many wonderful creations and I suppose, given my penchant for pesto, this was a bit of a no brainer – Mash and Pesto Cocktail!
You all know how much I love pesto and enjoy incorporating it into existing recipes or indeed creating new ones like the Pesto Panna Cotta, Baked Pesto Meatball, Pesto Risotto and Pesto Halloumi. I really am extremely pleased with this particular baby too!
And martini glasses – don’t you just love them? They are such a classy way to showcase little bites!
How many portions you get here does depend on the size of your glasses. Any small glass container will do nicely if you haven’t got martini glasses.
The mash has got to be quite light, for two reasons: you want to keep the starter light so as not to fill your diners up too quickly, and a lighter mash will sit in place in the glass quicker and easier.
Ingredients (makes about 6 – 10 starters, depending on portion/glass size)
3 large potatoes
50ml double or single cream
fresh milk as needed to lighten the mash
salt and pepper
a few fresh basil leaves, torn into little pieces
100g fresh pesto
6-10 cheese crisps as needed
Toasted pine nuts or flaked almonds
Optional topping – crumbled croutons (for the texture)
1. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.
2. Place the potatoes in a saucepan in a pan of cold water with some salt and bring to boil.
3. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes are done. They should be nice and soft.
4. Drain and leave to air dry for a couple of minutes.
5. Season generously with salt and pepper, add the butter and cream and mash the potatoes well. Add a little bit of milk to lighten the texture. As mentioned, you want the mash on the fluid side for easy assembly.
6. Set aside to cool down. If you start assembling the starter while the mash is warm, the glasses will start to steam up.
1. Place about a tablespoon of mash in each glass, the mash ought to settle fairly well into the glass shape.
2. Follow by 1 tablespoon of pesto, spreading it out a little. There is no need to get the pesto to the edge as the next lot of mash will do that.
3. Now you place another tablespoon of mash over, letting it spread to the edge.
4. Top with nuts, some torn basil leaves and place a cheese crips as in the picture.