When you love food as much as I do, you find yourself looking at the world in very black and white terms: People who don’t like food, and people who do. Sure, everyone enjoys a good meal, and no one (at least, that I know of) would turn their nose up at a well-cooked dinner. But for many, cooking is simply a chore–not a passion.
Fortunately, I have a few friends who fall into the “people who like food” camp, including my friend Stephanie. Stephanie and I met during graduate school, and bonded over our love of raw juice, homemade enchiladas, and obsession with food blogs. Our conversations vary, but tend to hearken back to what we made for dinner last night.
Today, Stephanie emailed me the recipe for Sea Salt Baked Potatoes. It comes from the “Quick” section of one of my new favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks. Her email couldn’t have come at a better time: I had just gotten off work, and icy snow pellets were descending on the Chicago area. I wasn’t dressed for the storm, and I found myself trudging through 20 mile-per-hour winds. But at least I had dinner to look forward to.
By the time I got home, I was craving comfort food: Something that would warm me up, but wouldn’t require too much prep work. Stephanie’s recipe fit the bill: I poked some holes in a lone sweet potato on my counter, let it bake for about an hour in the oven, and then filled it with Dijon dressing and arugula salad.
I had never eaten a baked potato stuffed with salad; usually, I leave my greens on the side. But the combination of soft, slightly caramelized sweet potato and crisp, tart arugula was divine. The creamy, citrusy dressing tied the whole dish together, and enhanced the flavor of the greens and the sweet potato.
I know I’ll revisit this recipe soon.
Sea Salt Baked Sweet Potato with Arugula (slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
1 large sweet potato
flaky sea salt
1-2 large handfuls of arugula
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
a egg yolk
a scant 1/2 cup / 100 ml olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 400F / 200C degrees. Scrub the potato, prick it all over with a fork, and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Bake the potato until tender throughout. It takes about an hour for larger potatoes, and a bit less for smaller potatoes. My potato was quite large, and it took about an hour and 15 minutes to cook.
While the potatoes are baking, make the dressing. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, egg yolk, and olive oil with a big pinch of salt. Then whisk in the cheese, and finally the lemon juice. Taste, make any adjustments, and set aside.
Slice a big cross into the top of each potato, then gently but firmly push in on the ends of each potato. This way the tops open up, and you can begin to spoon out a bit of the potato filling. Add a splash of the dressing and a bit of salt. Toss the arugula with a generous amount of the dressing, and then pile it into the potato. Serve warm.