I would like to do a potato dish for a party that is simple and straight forward, but can be combined with dips or sauces to make each of my guests feel like they created something special. Any ideas?
Yes, two potato concepts come to mind. The first is an Idaho Potato Lollipop and the second is an Idaho Mashed Potato Bar.
The lollipop idea came from this ad we ran a couple of years ago when the chef at Parcel 104 in Santa Clara California did this for an event. Chef Bart Hosmer is now with Marriott International as the Sr. Director, Culinary – Americas. He took smaller sized (90 or 100 count to a fifty pound box) Idaho russets, peeled them and then sliced into round circles. Once cooked, the addition of a wooden stick or skewer creates a lollipop appearance. Add upscale dips or sauces and you have the makings of a fun party dish. Everyone can customize to their taste preferences.
Next, is the ultimate mashed potato bar. The potatoes can be whipped with creamy buttermilk or half and half and placed into pastry tubes. Piped into small glass containers (or martini or margarita glasses) then flavored oils (such as a colorful basil or saffron or tasty truffle oil) can be warmed and drizzled over the potatoes, and then the toppings bar begins. Check out the recipe below for suggested toppings from Erica Moore, Ciganovic, Chef, Bonne Bouffe, Los Angeles, CA.