Monday, December 15, 2008

sausage-stuffed potatoes + a green salad

sausage-stuffed potatoes

I don’t think I need to tell you that sometimes the tastiest food is not the prettiest. Take a real close look at meat sauce, or shiny, oily cheese draped over tuna or a ground up olive paste and you’ll know why it may be tasty, but it’s not pretty. Meanwhile, I am wary of too-pretty food; perfectly smoothed fondant lids on cakes, making them look like rubber, overly glazed tartlets that look like they’re cellophaned.

stabbing the potatoes

And of course, all of this is just an elaboration explanation-slash-apology for the hideously sounding and looking sausage stuffed potatoes that were so good, I will happily eat them only in private if I must, as long as I get to have them again.

scooping

What also drew me to this dish is how budget-friendly it is — and really, I made every effort to make it more expensive, with futsy Whole Foods fresh chicken breakfast sausages, organic and locally grown potatoes because I wanted to prove to myself that good food doesn’t need to cost much.

filling

It’s bad out there. A recession isn’t necessarily about losing your job, but worrying that you might, or that you’ll be less able to make ends meet, and I don’t know anyone being spared that anxiety right now. But I find it refreshing to realize that some of my favorite things to cook don’t weigh heavily on the wallet, even while tasting like a million bucks. So between all the cookies and party fluff coming up, I’m going to be ushering in a few more dishes with a Budget-Friendly tag, and going back and re-categorizing recipes that belong there. It’s overdue.

dijon-mayo topping

One year ago: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Sausage-Stuffed Potatoes
Adapted from Gourmet, September 2008, via a very nice reader who emailed, “Deb must make this.”

One look at my pictures and you’ll see that I didn’t exactly read the directions correctly as I scooped them out, TGIFriday’s potato skin-style (yum) and didn’t hollow them out whole. Details. Clearly, both ways work, but I do suspect that the way the original recipe suggests it, it would be more attractive than my “meat boats”.

Serves 2

2 large russet (baking) potatoes (preferably organic; 3/4 pound each, scrubbed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon water, divided
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for coating potatoes
1/2 slice firm white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage (1 cup) or 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
5 cups salad greens (2 ounces)(we used arugula, which paired with the dijon sauce was deliciously kicky)

Prick potatoes with a fork. Microwave, covered with a paper towel, on high power until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Cutting lengthwise, remove top fourth of each potato and scoop out centers (reserve for another use), leaving 1/2-inch-thick walls.

Whisk together mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon water, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Cook onion in oil with a pinch of salt in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, tear bread into small pieces, then soak in milk in a medium bowl until very soft. Mix in sausage, parsley, onion, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce with your hands.

Divide filling between potatoes, then coat skins lightly with oil. Bake in a 4-sided sheet pan until sausage is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

While potatoes bake, whisk 1 tablespoon mayonnaise sauce with lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon water, and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove potatoes from oven and turn on broiler. Spoon remaining mayonnaise sauce over filling and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

Toss greens with dressing and serve with potatoes.


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