Yes, team, this blog is still alive. I know, I know “where have you been?!” Well, I’ve lost a job, gained a job, lost a sibling (;*(, gained a puppy, gained a son-in law, geeze, it’s been crazy busy. Mr. Cheese and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in January with a quiet night at home. Well, quiet if you discount the music we swayed to while we cooked and enjoyed drinks by candle light. On the menu was steak au poivre, asparagus (peee eeeuww!), BLT salad, and baked potatoes. But not just any baked potatoes.
Mr. Cheese read a recipe in the September & October 2011 edition of Cooks Illustrated magazine, about salt-baked potatoes that he wanted to try. The idea is that the salt retains moisture during cook time so the skins don’t dry out, while the inside of the potato remains moist but still fluffy. We passed on the article’s suggestion to throw in rosemary, but all hail the garlic bulb, so we threw in two for good measure. Who doesn’t love garlic? Except, you know, vampires and anti-italians.
The potatoes were tuber-licious (I know, I’m lame) but newsflash: beware of bubbling garlic. Me: “Mr. Cheese, look! The garlic is all bubbly and stuff! That’s awesome!” Mr. Cheese: “Wow! That’s going to taste fabulous!” Wrong. Epicurean fail. When your garlic bubbles out of the papery sleeve, it means that once it cools down, you will be presented with a rock-hard mess of garlic that you won’t be able to spread, yet alone get out of the encasing to eat. eck! About 50% of our garlic survived and was a gooey, melty, buttery mess that was every bit of heaven when eaten on buttery bread. Thankfully, Mr. Cheese let me eat that 50% while he watched. Happy Anniversary to me.
Salt-Baked Potatoes & Gooey-Roasted Garlic adapted from Matthew Card in Sept./Oct. 2011 Cook’s Illustrated
1 1/4 cups salt + a pinch
2 russet potatoes
2 heads garlic, top sliced off, outer most layer removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and make sure the rack is in the middle level of the oven. Spread the salt in a baking dish large enough to accommodate the potatoes and garlic. Place the potatoes in the salt, leaving room between each potato. Add the garlic, open side up, and nestle the potatoes and garlic into the salt. Cover with foil and bake for 1 1/4 hours.
Remove pan and increase temperature to 500 degrees. Remove foil, remove garlic and set the garlic aside to cool. Brush the exposed part of each potato with olive oil and return the baking dish to the oven, uncovered, and bake until tender or about 15 to 20 more minutes. Load your potato with whatever you want and drool over the gooey-melty garlic. Serves 2, or 4 bird-like anorexics.