Thomas Keller's The French Laundry

Napa Valley

Most food experts agree that Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry is the finest restaurant in the world. It is also, according to the New York Times, the hardest place to obtain a reservation due to limited space. Thomas Keller considers the La Ratte de Paris the finest potato in the world. He has graciously submitted his favorite way of preparing the potato. His restaurant is in the heart of Napa Valley, in Yountville, California.

"The world's best tasting potato"

La Ratte de Paris Potato Purée Recipe

Serves 4 people


1 lb La Ratte de Paris potatoes, all of which are relatively similar in size, scrubbed well
8 oz mascarpone cheese (or substitute heavy cream if unavailable)
6 – 8 oz European-style butter, unsalted, cold, cut into ½” pieces salt to taste


2 each medium sauce pots (about 4 – 6 quarts)
Preferably a fine mesh sieve (tammis) or a potato ricer or food mill
Paring knife
Tea towel
Wooden spoon
Rubber spatula
Serving dish

  1. Place the potatoes in a single layer on the bottom of a sauce pot. Cover the potatoes with at least two inches of cold water and season this water with salt. Place the pot on the range. Bring the potatoes slowly to a boil then reduce to a very gentle simmer. The potatoes are cooked once they are soft and you can pierce them with a paring knife without feeling any resistance.
  2. Once the potatoes are cooked, turn off the heat but keep the potatoes in the hot water. Add the mascarpone cheese (or cream) to the other sauce pot and warm over very low heat to melt it. This next operation must be performed relatively quickly in order to ensure a smooth and creamy potato purée; Remove one potato from the water and hold it in your hand using a tea towel so you don’t get burned. Quickly use the paring knife to peel back as much skin from the potato as possible. Discard the skin then pass the potato through the sieve, ricer or food mill into the warmed mascarpone. Use a wooden spoon to mix the potato into the mascarpone taking care to make the mixture a smooth as possible. Repeat this process with all of the potatoes keeping very low heat on the whole time.
  3. Once all of the potatoes have been incorporated into the mascarpone, turn up the heat just slightly and add a couple cubes of butter at a time and beat them into the potato purée before adding more butter. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a warm serving dish.
  4. Serve immediately.

Click to view pdf of recipe

The French Laundry Painting © 2013 Catherine Huston

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