Monday, December 12, 2011

Once-Baked Potato, Once-Broiled Potato

I tend to like simple things. A very hot cup of good tea or coffee.  Slippers.  Accelerating when the light turns green.  Actually getting good fries with your burger.  A favorite pair of jeans.  A new seasonal from your local brewer.  Food also likes to be simple.  Very fresh, grown with care, minimally handled, seasoned properly, cooked (or not) properly, served properly.  As an example, the oven-baked potato. 

If it wasn't for the egg, you might call potato the single most important food in the world.  Did you know it was from Peru?

The tastiest baked potato really is this simple- Fire up the oven to 400F.  Using a fork, stab all over your taters a half inch deep.  Oil em up with EVOO, veggie or canola, then season liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Place in the middle of the oven straight on the rack.  Depending on the size and shape, they will be done in 45-60 minutes or so.  If you for some dumb reason don't want the awesomely crispy skin, wrap them in foil.  Serve as desired. 

If you'd like to further complicate the simple potato, there's always the twice-baked potato.  Although this version is simpler and therefore quicker.

Once-Baked Potatoes, Once-Broiled Potato with broccoli, bacon, cheddar, green onion
1 large baking russet potato per person
kosher salt
black pepper
1 TB sour cream
small broccoli florets, steamed/boiled for 3-4 minutes till bright green, then shocked in ice bath
1 slice applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 TB diced sharp cheddar cheese or shredded
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
additional sour cream, hot sauce, etc.

With your taters cooled a bit, fire up the upside-down grill (the broiler) on hi with a rack about a half foot down. Slice each potato in half lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, being careful not to tear the skin, into a medium bowl.  You could add some cream or milk if you wish, I chose just sour cream.  If you like your cardiologist, add a bit of the rendered bacon fat, especially if it's Nueske's.  Mix the dairy and S&P to the potato, then fold in half the broccoli, cheese, and bacon.  Divide evenly among the potato shells, if you have a bit leftover then EAT IT.  Add the remaining cheese, broc and bacon, then top with thinly sliced green onion.  On a heavy sheet pan, broil until nice and toasty, about 4-6 minutes, rotating evenly. Can't live on potato alone? Pairs well with a pan-seared ribeye steak with tasty sauce, a green salad and a glass of cab. 

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