Thursday, November 09, 2006
ROSEMARY-SCENTED POTATOES TOPPED WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND GRUYERE
Whoa, doesn’t this recipe title sound incredibly fancy? But really, it’s, um, baked potatoes topped with onions and cheese and some rosemary. (Ack, Cooking Light, you went overboard with “scented.” What is this, a spa treatment?) It’s one of those recipes that fails to knock my socks off only because I keep thinking, “Well, I could have thought of this.” I mean, you can put anything on a baked potato—you don’t really need a recipe, right? But of course, I had never put caramelized onions or rosemary on a baked potato, and it tasted delicious. Baked potatoes are so easy and cozy, but they need a little something, and onions add a nice zing. Potatoes and rosemary are of course a match made in heaven, and the Gruyere adds a kick. (The flavors are quite similar to French onion soup, actually.) We had these last night, with green salad on the side and some perfectly ripe pears rounding out this easy, fallish meal.
I would make it again, with a few adjustments. The onions definitely needed to cook longer than the 20 minutes specified by the recipe, and I think I’d cook them at a lower heat—at medium they browned quickly, but didn’t quite become all soft and sweet and truly caramelized. Perhaps this is why the whole dish seemed dry, or maybe they needed to be cooked in a little more butter (yes, I know this is Cooking Light, but let’s not sacrifice quality here). Next time, I think I’ll start the onions right after putting the potatoes in the oven, and cook them for about an hour over medium-low heat, covering them for part of that time so they steam and get tender before browning. Also, the original recipe doesn’t call for salt, and what is a potato without salt? The cheese is a little salty, but not enough to flavor the whole potato. I added a little salt to the onion mixture when I added the pepper, but ended up sprinkling more on top later. I think it would be better to add some to the inside of the potatoes after opening them up (I also mashed the potato flesh slightly with a fork, because I like it soft).
The original recipe serves 6, but I prefer 4 servings (two for me and A to eat right away, two for us to eat later), so I did my calculations (yay, multiplying fractions!) and came up with the following 2/3-sized version, which also reflects the changes in method I mentioned above:
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups thinly sliced onion (3 medium-large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Pierce potatoes with a fork, and bake for 1 hour or until tender.
3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, covered, 20 minutes until soft. Uncover and cook another 20 minutes or so, until onions are browned. Stir in chopped fresh rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.
4. When potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and preheat the broiler.
5. Split the potatoes lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, the other side, then put one finger on each end of the potato and squeeze together to open them up a little. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper inside, and gently stir and fluff the potato flesh with a fork. Divide onion mixture between potatoes and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons Gruyere (you may have to squish the filling down inside the potatoes slightly to fit it all in). Place potatoes on baking sheet and broil 3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
Time: 1½ hours