from Matthew Kenney’s ‘Mediterranean Cooking’. i’ve been head-over-heels for all kinds of mashed potatoes ever since i can remember. this recipe, though, with it’s spice and simplicity, is one of my all-time favorites.

Prep Time: 35 minutes | Cook Time: 10 min | Serves: 4


  • 1 tsp anise seeds (note: not star anise)
  • kosher salt
  • 2 pounds creamers (small white or red potatoes) or new potatoes, peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, warm or at room temperature (room temperature prevents the potatoes from becoming pasty)
  • white pepper


Put the anise seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Toast for 4 minutes, stirring a few times. Grind with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine 2 quarts of water with 1 tbspn salt. Bring to a boil, add the potatoes and cook, covered, for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Drain.

While still hot, mash the potatoes. Do not use a food processor. Stir in the olive oil, ground anise, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a colorful serving boil to offset the white potatoes.

Note: These mashed potatoes don’t hold up as well as traditional mashed potatoes – they seize up and harden more quickly – so they must be eaten hot.