It’s the weekend after Christmas and we’ve been to three parties plus a family get-together this past week. I’ve eaten so much rich food, appetizers and dips, cheese this and cheese that, not to mention all the desserts, that I woke up this morning with the urge to eat pie for breakfast. Is this where the holiday festivities have brought me?
No, no, and no way. I will not succumb to any more temptation. I will overcome the gravitational pull to the wrong foods and make wholesome choices once again. Yet somewhere along this righteous path to eating kale salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I remembered that kale salad tastes absolutely nothing like pie, cheesecake, or chocolate thumbprint cookies, so that was the end of that.
However, my reasoning tells me that there must be a middle ground here. By Sunday dinnertime I’d found that middle ground; a happy medium between total submersion in butter, cream and chocolate, and the kind of austerity measures that never quite make it past the 24 hour mark. I give you the twice-baked potato, restuffed with not only the usual sour cream and cheese, but a whole lot of greens. Greens make everything healthy, don’t they? Of course, we all know that!
The basis for this recipe came from Healthy Eating food blog, but I ended up veering a bit off the recipe, using less cheese (I know, I can’t believe it either) and sour cream, adding a softly cooked onion, and then, although kale was supposed to be the green used, I actually used a combination of baby kale that I had on hand, and some baby spinach. What that means is that you, too, can take liberties with this recipe: any green of your choice such as Swiss chard, or all spinach. For the cheese you could use parmesan, goat cheese or cream cheese instead of the traditional cheddar. If you’ve got a surplus of scallions, shallots or leeks you could use them where I used a small onion.
I really hope you make these potatoes, because I can’t emphasis loudly enough how much they hit the spot—toasty and a little decadent, but green enough that I didn’t even feel the need to make a salad on the side. I served this with sautéd asparagus and it was the perfect light dinner to cap off a week of heavy eating.
TWICE-BAKED POTATOES WITH KALE
Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish, 3 as a hearty main
- 3 russet potatoes ( mine were 8 to 9 oz. each)
- 1 bundle lacinato kale or swiss chard or spinach
- coarse salt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar, or 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan, or 1/2 to 2/3 cup cream cheese, or goat cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Cook potatoes the first time. Gently scrub potatoes but do not peel. Pierce all over with a fork so steam can escape. Bake about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced in center with a skewer. Remove potatoes, but leave oven on.
2. While potatoes bake, prepare your filling: Tear kale, chard or spinach leaves from stems. Plunge into cold water to remove any dirt or grit. No need to dry them. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add greens and a pinch of salt. Cook them in the pan with just the water clinging to the leaves until they wilt and collapse. Transfer to a colander and when cool enough to handle, wring out any extra moisture in small fistfuls. On a cutting board, finely chop greens. You will have about a cup of wrung-out, well chopped greens; a little more or less won’t matter.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add butter and oil. Once both are warm, add onion and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Try not to let it brown. Add chopped greens into the skillet and warm up with the onion, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
4. Prepare the potatoes: When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness, so you are leaving a shell inside for stability.
Add potato filling to the bowl with the greens.
Arrange the potato shells on a baking sheet or shallow baking dish. Mash potatoes, with onions and greens until smooth. Stir in sour cream, 3/4 of cheese and more salt and pepper that you think you need.
Heap the filling into the potato shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 of cheese.
5. Bake potatoes a second time: for 20 to 30 minutes, until bronze and crisp on top.