What’s TNBT? Every new year people make predictions. One time I read that The Next Big Thing would be a frying pan that somehow let you know when the pan reached the perfect temperature to add eggs or hamburger or pancakes.
This year I’ve read, in a few places, that Peruvian cuisine would be TNBT.
Maybe. Maybe not.
But I do know that we have the Peruvians to thank for potatoes. Centuries ago, Spanish conquistadors set out to the Americas to find El Dorado, the land of gold and plenty. They never found that. But they did find plenty of potatoes, a culinary treasure to be sure.
Potatoes, which no one in Europe knew about then, flourished in the volcanic soil of the Peruvian Andes. The conquistadors took note at how the Peruvians roasted potatoes whole, until the insides were soft and the outsides crunchy and dark.
If I could only pick one food to live on for the rest of my life it would be a baked potato.
Baked potatoes are so good (especially if you use an organic Russet, or Idaho potato) that, IMHO you don’t need to do anything with it except sprinkle the insides with salt (I like a mineraly sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper.
But okay, butter works too (unsalted always tastes fresher and cleaner).
And some people like to add sour cream and chives. And other people like Baked Stuffed Potatoes, which I have to confess, are a wonderful make-ahead side dish, and so versatile that there are more versions than you could possibly consider cooking.
Here’s one recipe:
Baked Stuffed Potatoes with Horseradish and Dill
4 large Russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1-1/2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and dry them. Pierce the potatoes and place them in the oven (or you can wait and pierce the potatoes after 20-30 minutes). Bake the potatoes for about an hour or until you can easily pierce into the flesh with the tip of a sharp knife. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the butter and cream cheese and mash into the potatoes. Add the sour cream, dill and horseradish and mix them in. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Using equal amounts, stuff the mixture back into the skins. Place the potato halves on a cookie sheet. Reheat the potatoes until hot (10-15 minutes depending on whether the potatoes have been refrigerated). Makes 4-8 servings