Food

Jacket Potatoes with Shaved Vegetable Salad: A knockout side or full-on meal — you decide

Abra Berens’ recipe is the kind of surprisingly versatile, “kitchen sink” meal you’ll want in your back pocket for busy weeks.

Abra Berens’ recipe is the kind of surprisingly versatile, “kitchen sink” meal you’ll want in your back pocket

(Photography by EE Berger)

We all have a few trusty meals in our repertoire that we reach for when we’re feeling lazy or there’s little left in the fridge, but rarely do those cross over into something we’d actually be proud to serve to guests. That’s why we love this recipe from Abra Berens’ cookbook Ruffage, which transforms the humble baked potato into so much more than a simple steakhouse side. Made from fridge and pantry staples, like canned tuna, baking potatoes, and whatever vegetable scraps are left in the crisper, the result is a hearty, slaw-topped masterpiece that looks impressive but is still simple enough to tackle at the end of a long day. 

Jacket Potatoes w/ Shaved Vegetable Salad and Tuna Mayo

By Abra Berens

Baked, or jacket, potatoes are truly one of my perfect vessels for any sort of topping. They turn the weird salads that I make for dinner into a complete and filling meal. Every time I tell someone that’s what we are having for dinner, I can see them picturing the steakhouse (or cafeteria buffet) — soggy, slathered in sour cream and butter, with some lame-ass, dried-out chives on top. This is not that. 

The key to a great baked potato is the textural difference between the jacket (skin) and the creamy, fluffy interior. For that reason, I like to use floury potatoes such as russets — potatoes that fall apart when boiled and are much better suited to baking — and then top them with anything that provides a good crunch; maybe something cold to contrast with the hot interior, and a surprising tang to balance out all that starch. If you are feeling portion conscious, bake them, cut them in half, and serve only one side per person. 

I love the richness that the tuna adds to the mayo, ensuring that you get a good amount of protein with your baked potato. I also love it because the mayo is salty enough to season both the potato and the vegetables in the salad. That said, I still sprinkle the potato with a pinch of salt before topping with the salad, because I like salt. If you aren’t into tuna, feel free to omit and use plain or garlic mayo.

Ingredients

  • 1 large (280g) russet potato per person (the ingredients that follow are listed per potato)
  • 1 cup shaved vegetables, whatever is in season or in your refrigerator; I love red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, kale, tomatoes, kohlrabi…
  • ¼ cup Tuna Mayo (see recipe below)
  • Salt
  • Handful of parsley, cilantro, and/or chives, roughly chopped

Tuna Mayo:

  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 150g can tuna in oil
  • 300 mL neutral oil

Preparation

Heat the oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes all over with the tip of a knife. Place on the oven rack and bake until tender when poked with a knife (they generally will hold their shape), about 40 minutes. 

Dress the veggies with the tuna mayo and a big pinch of salt. 

Taste and adjust as desired, return to the refrigerator (don’t eat it all now, even though you could, or do as you like, and find another outlet for the potatoes). 

Pull those hot potatoes from the oven and cut the length of the potato and 3 lines perpendicular to the center cut. Using potholders, squeeze the bottom of the potato, pushing the flesh up through the cuts (fluff with a fork if it doesn’t lift up).

Season with a pinch of salt. Top with the vegetable salad. Sprinkle with the herbs and serve.

Tuna Mayo:

In a food processor, whiz the egg, salt, vinegar, and tuna until well blended. Slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture is thick. If it is too thin, add more oil.

Will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Yield: Makes one potato 


Excerpted from Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables by Abra Berens. Photographs by EE Berger. Copyright 2019. Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Chronicle Books. All

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