Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Simple Pleasures

When a wintry weekend afternoon reveals gloom not only on the news, but also in the damp and forlorn garden, the way to boost my fast-deflating spirits via a warming snack is as uncomplicated as baking a potato, the largest one in our cellier, roasted till its skin is crusty, slashed with a double cross so its fluffy insides can be puffed-out to be saturated with butter, crème fraîche, and chives, making that steaming, fragrant bundle look like it is puckering for a kiss. Though I am tempted to return the gesture, I am bien élevé enough to use a fork.


Preheat oven to 230 degrees C/450 degrees F. The chosen potato measures about 13 cm/5 inches long by about 7 cm/3 inches wide and is a floury type (low-moisture content) well-suited for baking. If you can't find baking potatoes then go with all-purpose. Scrub well and dry.


To let out steam as the potato bakes, prior to oven-time, pierce it all over with the tines of a fork. For a potato this size, ten stabs will be in order.


Roast for 50 to 60 minutes right on the centre rack till the skin is crackly and flesh is tender which can be tested by inserting a sharp knife in the centre. Place the baked beauty on a paper towel, potholder, or tea towel. Slash through the skin lengthwise and then make two perpendiculars near the ends of the initial cut.


Protecting your hands with the tea towel, press on both ends simultaneously towards the centre.


Fresh chives of course are the highest quality choice, but the second best are freeze-dried ones. They rehydrate quickly, retaining flavour and texture closer to the fresh version. You may have to hunt a bit for these as the less-expensive, air-dried herbs are way more common.


Put a noix (knob) of butter and a heaping teaspoon of crème fraîche (or sour cream) along with several mega-pinches of chives. A good sprinkling of salt is the final touch.


Carefully mash and mix with a fork, till all the ingredients are nicely distributed.


As you eat, don't be shy. Add more butter, crème fraîche, and chives.


And what's waiting at the bottom? The glorious skin!

A large potato with skin has about 1000 mg of potassium! 

À la prochaine!

RELATED LINKS

Health benefits, food sources, and recommended daily allowance of potassium