Monday, December 15, 2008

The perfect baked potato

This recipe is for my perfect baked potato. 
Or jacket potato, for all of our UK friends out there. 
Or baked potatoe, if you're Dan Quayle (ah, simpler times).
I'm calling this recipe my perfect baked potato because it's baked to a crackling finish on the outside while becoming fluffy and soft within. 
Then, not one to leave well enough alone, I go and get all Wendy's on its ass, anointing it with a whisper of butter, a sprinkling of salt, some steamed broccoli spears and a sharp cheddar sauce that I make by starting with a basic bechamel base. This is straight-up feel-good food.
Chocolate Frostie not included. 
(serves 2)
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed, poked several times with fork tines, rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt
1 cup cooked broccoli florets (time-saver = buy frozen, defrost, steam, drain)
Cheese sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup hot milk
1 tsp Coleman's prepared mustard
dash Worcestershire
couple of shakes cayenne pepper
1/2 cup grated sharp (old) white cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
couple of pats of butter (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put prepped taters in oven, right on the rack, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until done.
2. To make the zippy cheese sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in flour and cook together on medium heat until they bubble but don't brown. Stir in hot milk (microwave it in a mug for a minute), mustard, Worcestershire, cayenne, and let it boil for a couple of minutes, until sauce thickens. Keep stirring. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper, and cook for a minute more, until you have a smooth, glossy sauce. Taste for seasoning.
3. Make sure broccoli is hot. Take potatoes out of oven, lop off the top, lengthways, (hey, so that's how they make potato skins), eat that bit as a snack, break up the insides of the potato with a knife or fork, add some salt, a bit of butter, then pour on the sauce and top with broccoli and a bit more salt.
And now it's time to eat your veggies.

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