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Sprucing up the spud

Posted: Friday, Jan. 25, 2013

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

"Chef Troy" Gagliardo hosts a weekly cooking segment called "Troy's Everyday Eats" live every Tuesday on WCCB News Rising from 7 to 9 a.m. He has made over 300 appearances on the show showcasing over 1000 of his unique original recipes. He was also voted one of the Top Five best chefs in Charlotte in 2013. Troy has penned a cookbook called Pseudo Southern, which has been endorsed by celebrity chef and best selling author Fabio Viviani. His business Motown Spice Provisions supplies some of the top restaurants and country clubs in the greater Charlotte area for the past 10 years. He is a self-taught chef who learned early on the importance of family and food, and the connection between both, from his parents and grandparents. Contact him at Visit, and follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Oh the lowly spud; never the star always the supporting side. However with a little attention and detail the common spud can be elevated to new heights. Kick up normal everyday mashed potatoes with peppery arugula and bring a little texture to the party with toasted bacon bread crumbs.

Follow then few simple ideas for great successful homemade mashed potatoes every time. Set out your butter, heavy cream and sour cream to warm up to room temperature. Cook potatoes just until fork tender and remove from the water immediately. Drain but don’t rinse and place back in the pot used to cook the potatoes.

Add your ingredients and any other flavoring you’d like and mash together by hand with a potato masher. Plate and top with the bread breads and serve. It’s as simple as that.

Arugula Mashed Potatoes with Bacon Bread Crumbs

• 2 1/2 Pounds-Russet Potatoes-peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
• 4 Tablespoons-Unsalted Butter-soften at room temperature
• ½ Cup-Heavy Whipping Cream-room temperature
• ¼ Cup-Sour Cream
• 2 Teaspoons-Kosher Salt-plus extra to season breadcrumbs
• ½ Teaspoon-Black Pepper- plus extra to season breadcrumbs
• 2 Cups-Arugula-rough chopped
• ½ Pound Bacon-sliced into thin strips, cooked, drained (reserve drippings)
• 1 ½ Cups-Panko Breadcrumbs


1. Chop bacon into small pieces and warm a sauté pan over medium heat.
2. Add panko, bacon and about 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings.
3. Toast stirring frequently until golden brown, remove from pan and set aside.
4. Place potatoes in a stock pot and cover with hot water.
5. Bring to a boil, cook for 30-45 minutes or until a knife inserted slides off easily.
6. Potatoes should still hold shape but will mash with a little pressure, drain potatoes.
7. Place drained potatoes and butter in a large mixing bowl.
8. Add heavy cream, sour cream, slat/pepper and arugula.
9. Using a potato masher begin smashing until all are incorporated.
10. Place potatoes on a serving plate garnish with bacon breadcrumbs and serve.

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