Friday, February 17, 2012

Arugula-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

When I was a kid, my mother constantly tried out new recipes from her extensive cookbook collection. Mom rarely repeated a dish no matter how much the rest of the family liked it, since she had an ever-growing list of new things she wanted to cook. I’m the opposite in that I tend to make a recipe I like over and over again until I get sick of it. However, I don’t think I could possibly grow tired of eating these Arugula-Stuffed Baked Potatoes. And I think that once my mom tries these for herself, these beauties will be making repeat appearances at the family table as well.

One of my best discoveries of last year was the Sea Salt Baked Potatoes from 101 Cookbooks. This was the very first food blog I began following years ago, and author/photographer Heidi Swanson continually surprises me with her creativity. It’s worth checking out for the stunning photographs alone, and the mouth-watering super-natural recipes on her site always keep me coming back for more.

Talk about a winner! Imagine a baked potato, the skin crisp and flecked with sea salt while the inside is fluffy and tender. But instead of loading this spud with enough dairy products to alarm your cardiologist, the steaming hot potato flesh is drizzled with a rich mustard vinaigrette. A baby arugula salad, tossed with more of the vinaigrette and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, tops the whole thing off.

Alissa first told me about this recipe last July, and once I made it for myself, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t care that it was the middle of a blazing hot New York City summer, and I kept turning on my oven to bake these potatoes, regardless of the heat index outside. I even served these at my rooftop birthday dinner last August where they received rave reviews.

This particular photo was taken on my rooftop six months ago today, and you can see that these festive potatoes are clearly ready for the party. While they were the perfect accompaniment to an expertly grilled steak, they're certainly capable of holding their own as the star of any meal. Whether you’re serving a crowd of fifteen or just feeding yourself, these arugula-stuffed baked potatoes make any meal feel like a special occasion. Once you have your first bite of them, I think you’ll agree.

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I’ve made the dressing without the egg for friends who are squeamish about eating raw egg yolks, and the recipe still works wonderfully. But if salmonella is not a concern in your area and you have access to good cage-free organic eggs, I would definitely encourage you to try it using the egg yolk, which adds a richness and depth to the finished dish. I usually double the recipe, making extra arugula salad to either serve on the side or to keep adding to the potato as I make my way through it, salty skin and all.

2 large russet or Idaho potatoes
sea salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for finishing
several large handfuls of arugula

Preheat the oven to 400°. Scrub the potatoes well and pat dry with paper towels. Prick each potato several times all over with a fork and generously sprinkle with salt. Place the potatoes directly on the top rack of your oven and bake until done, about an hour or so, depending on the size of your potato.

While the potatoes are baking, make the vinaigrette. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, mustard and vinegar until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until all the oil is incorporated and the vinaigrette is emulsified. Add the grated Parmesan cheese, then season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the arugula with a few spoonfuls of the mustard vinaigrette until just lightly coated. Reserve the remaining dressing.

When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven. When they are just cool enough to handle, cut an X in the top of the potato and push in on the lengthwise ends. Carefully scoop out the potato flesh into a small mixing bowl and add the remaining vinaigrette. Mash together with a fork till well combined and season to taste with additional salt and pepper, as needed. Pile the mustardy mashed potato flesh back into the potato skins, mound the arugula salad on top, and sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 2 very satisfying servings.

1 comment:

Crista said...

Ice made this same recipe several times, LOVES IT!! the last few times I couldn't remember the full recipe and I realize that I've been forgetting the Dijon mustard. I knew there was something missing!!