4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (or just plain old Idahoes – they work just fine), skin ON, scrubbed
3 shallots, peeled and sliced into very thin ring
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (it’s Thanksgiving people! Not a time to skimp)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Place the potatoes in a big pot and cover them with 2 inches of water (you want to start with cold water because that way the outsides of the potatoes don’t cook before the insides). Salt the water generously and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until you can pierce the potatoes easily with a fork or a wooden skewer, 20-25 minutes.
While the potatoes are boiling, heat about 3 inches of frying oil in a medium saucepan. When the oil seems close to being ready (you can throw a bread cube in there and if it starts sizzling right away you know that oil is ready), toss the shallots in flour and then sift out the remaining flour through a fine colander (or just lift them out and shake off the excess). Throw a handful of shallots into the oil and fry, moving them around a bit so they don’t stick, until golden and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Pull out those shallots with a Chinese spider thingie or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining shallots and oil.
Once that’s done, warm the cream, butter and 2 teaspoons of salt in another saucepan until warm but not boiling; cover and keep warm.
OK, now it’s time to make the potatoes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then either put them back into the pot or a big bowl and add the warmed cream-butter mixture. Mash until everything is integrated and season with more salt and some pepper to taste if you want. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the shallots.