Today, as I was chatting on the phone with my mom while putting these potatoes together for ‘lunch,’ she informed me that it was ten to five at night. Exactly how much time did I spend hanging out reading stories and singing with Faye? Do babies have special Jedi-like powers? Are they in possession of a Dr. Who memory worm?
On the plus side, I like these potatoes. I like them a lot. They taste good, are easy to put together, have a giant serving of green veggies, and I’m not left with a disaster area in my kitchen afterwards.
On an even happier note, Faye has started showing immense interest in food this past month. Every time I put something in my mouth, she imitates chewing which is ridiculously adorable. These stuffed baked potatoes were no exception and she chewed intensely on air while staring at Marcus and I as we shoveled forkful upon forkful of tasty cheesy goodness down our gullets. I felt it only fair to give her a taste and she made good work of sucking the juices off a broccoli stem. I guess the kid has good taste.
BROCCOLI, CHEDDAR and BACON STUFFED BAKED POTATO
INGREDIENTS – PER SERVING YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 large russet potato
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 18” long piece of aluminum foil
- sea salt, pepper
- thick salt such as Sel De Guerande (not necessary, but I like it in this dish.)
- ½ head of broccoli
- 6 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese (MAKE IT VEGAN: substitute Daiya* cheddar cheese, but use a lot less – more like 2 oz)
- 2 slices of bacon (MAKE IT VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN: replace with BacOs)
*When Marcus and I were vegan, we did a taste test of all the vegan cheeses out there. Daiya won hands down. Unless there is some new fangled soy cheese out there, go with Daiya.
Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Scrub your potatoes clean with either a good stiff brush. If you don’t have one (I never do) use a paper towel and rub vigorously under water. Afterwards, use a dry paper towel to rub the potatoes once more to make sure they are clean while drying them simultaneously.
Using a fork, stab the potato with the tines. I think of the potato as a rectangular solid (or–fun fact of the day–a ‘cuboid’). Stab that potato with all your might three times each on the largest four surfaces, being careful of where you place your fingers when you do so.
Place the brutalized potato on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over the potato. Using your hands, coat the potato in the oil. Sprinkle with a coarse sea salt (such as Sel de Guerande), making sure that salt is on all sides of the potato. Wrap the aluminum foil around the potato and cook for 1 hr. Go do something else for the next 30 minutes.
At the 30 minute mark, rinse your broccoli. Don’t worry about it being wet as this will help cook during steaming. Peel the base’s outer layer off until a light green stem is revealed. Chop up the broccoli into bite sized pieces. Put the bite sized pieces into whatever you are going to use to steam, toss in 3/4 tsp of sea salt per ½ head of broccoli and mix. (To steam, I use a metal colander that sits deep enough in a large pot so no holes show. The cover of the large pot fits beautifully over the colander creating an instant vegetable steamer.)
At the 45 minute mark, lower the heat to 400 degrees. Next, get your steamer ready. (For my method, I put a large pot with 2” of water up on high heat, cover it, and wait for it to boil.) Get out a jelly roll pan, line it with foil, and lay the slices of bacon flat across in one layer.
At minute 50: 1) Place the tray of bacon in the oven. 2) Start steaming your broccoli. (Put the colander full of broccoli in the pot and cover.) Cook the broccoli for 7 minutes or until a fork can pierce a stem piece. Do not overcook the broccoli. You want it firm, not uber soft.
While the broccoli is steaming and the bacon and potatoes are cooking, grate your cheese. Get out another jelly roll pan. For very easy clean up line it with foil.
At minute 60: 1) Remove your tray of bacon from the oven and set aside. 2) Uncover your broccoli and turn off the flame. 3) Take out your potatoes, but keep the oven on at 400°F.
Unwrap each potato and place on the lined jelly roll pan. Cut each potato in half lengthwise alongside the narrower face and fully open so the two cut halves are facing up. With a fork, break up the cooked potato a bit, being careful not to break the skin. Drizzle on about ½ tsp or so of olive oil per side and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. (I used a pinch of sea salt per half – which is about 1/16 of a tsp.) Spoon large helpings of broccoli onto each potato, dividing the broccoli evenly amongst all the potatoes until all is used. Season with salt and pepper. (I used another pinch of sea salt per half.) Top with a very, very large helping of cheese. Put the potatoes back into the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted. While the cheese is melting, chop the bacon. At the last minute of melting time, sprinkle the bacon atop the cheese. Remove from the oven and plate using the largest spatula you have. (I use this large silicone turner from Oxo and LOVE it. It is my go to spatula for everything – especially pancakes.)