Twice-Baked Potatoes with Chard & Garlic Scapes

I don’t know about you, but this time of year I usually start craving complex carbs like mad: bread, pasta, crackers; I can’t keep enough of them in the house. I think it’s because the vegetables just keep rolling in: the fridge is stuffed full of leafy greens, summer squash, bell peppers, green beans, and corn on the cob, not to mention the piles of tomatoes on the counter and the fruit! It’s an amazing time of year for a local eater, and I want to be able to enjoy all of the bounty at its height of freshness & flavor (as well, of course, as putting some up for the winter to come). But what this means is that we spend a lot of meals eating nothing but tomato, cucumber, & feta salad, or lime and peanut cole slaw or Christina’s vegetable soup. While this is all very good for us (5 a day? Try 25 a day!), at some point my body will rebel and require me to input some starch, STAT.

This happened last week: I was desperate for some carby goodness, but I had a fridge full of greens and the looming spector of another CSA box just around the corner. I was on the verge of sautéing up some chard with garlic scapes and then making myself potato chips for dessert, when it occurred to me: why not combine them? Sauté the greens with onion & garlic, mix it all in with mashed potato, then bake it all in the potato shells until hot & crispy. Sometimes, I am a genius (she says, modestly).

These were really, really delicious: because there is butter, and olive oil, and cheese, the flavor is rich and satisfying. Yet there is also an entire head of chard in there, a whole bunch of garlic scapes, some onion, fresh herbs: there’s a whole lotta healthy going on in this here twice-baked ‘tater. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a fan of your basic mound-of-cheddar, bacon-stuffed twice baked potato as much as the next girl. But those don’t help me to clear veggies out of the fridge (and they don’t do much to whittle away the winter weight gain either). These babies are chard-stuffed, non-greasy, and uncompromisingly delicious. I’m keeping extra potatoes on hand: the next time my carb-crazed body issues demands, I have just the thing.

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Twice-Baked Potatoes with Chard & Garlic Scapes

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, or 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic scapes, stems & flower heads, finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch chard, stems trimmed, sliced down the middle, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • about 1/4 cup buttermilk (or milk, cream, yogurt, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste

METHODS

  1. Bake potatoes. After poking all over with a fork, bake the potatoes in a 400 degree F oven for about 60 to 90 minutes, or until the flesh is soft when pricked with a fork. Alternatively, slice in half lengthwise and microwave, cut side down and covered with a paper towel, until tender, about 10 – 15 minutes. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the potato flesh, taking care not to rip the skin and leaving about 1/4-inch of potato flesh in each potato boat. Set aside.
  2. Sauté vegetables. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until shimmering, but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic scapes (reserve the green parts if using scallions) and sauté over medium-low heat until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chard, tossing to coat in oil, and sauté until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stuff and bake potatoes. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, mash the potato flesh, butter and buttermilk; add cheese, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust milk or seasonings. Add the chard to the potatoes and mix well with a fork to distribute evenly. Scoop the potato mixture into the potato shells and place, filling side up, in a baking dish. Bake until the tops begin to brown slightly and the potatoes are warmed through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 4 – 8.

OPTIONS

  1. It was too hot to keep the oven on for the hour+ required to bake potatoes: I did the initial ‘bake’ in the microwave. The skin was not as crispy, but it wasn’t soggy; really not a bad option if it’s hot or you are short on time.
  2. Substitute 2 – 4 minced garlic cloves for the scapes if they are out of season. You could also add in some garlic chives if it is too early for scapes.
  3. I had fresh thyme in the garden; oregano, mint, or summer savory are all good options.
  4. You can, of course, add anything you like: more cheese, no cheese, bacon, ground beef, chopped broccoli, and on & on.
  5. This recipe can be 100% local if you substitute butter, bacon grease or local sunflower oil for the olive oil and local dried ground chiles for the black pepper.

STORE

Refrigerated for up to 5 days.

SEASON

Early summer.

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