it comes with a salad

it’s the first day of my vacation. in between making peppermint bark, watching elf, and wearing three layers of clothing, i made this meal.

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meet the sausage-stuffed potato. it is unpretentious and comforting, which is my favorite kind of thing on a gray winter day. it pairs well with a generously pilled blanket and a snuggle on the couch, i think. i believe i’ll add it to the mental list i have of perfect winter meals, which currently includes wendy’s chili and the classic grilled cheese + hot tomato soup combo. what’s even better about this dish is that the recipe practically forces you to eat a side of greens, which – you realize after some initial reluctance – conveniently cuts the heartiness of the rest of the meal perfectly. among a few other lovely things (such as onion softened in a frying pan and a pretty red smidge of tomato paste) there is a dijon sauce that gets mixed into the sausage, and a few spoonfuls of it get set aside to be whisked into a bright and peppy salad dressing. so, you know, might as well fling it on a fistful of lettuce and eat it.

after putting the potato in for a quick broil to get those lovely browned bits (i’ve got a thing for lovely browned bits), i stuck my face above the steaming plate and followed this order: meaty, crumbly sausage, a touch of creamy sauce, fluffy potato, forkful of leafy greens. repeat.

it was good.

Sausage-Stuffed Potatoes with Green Salad
from Gourmet magazine
Serves 2

2 large russet (baking) potatoes (preferably organic; 3/4 lb each), scrubbed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tbsp plus ½ teaspoon water, divided
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon anchovy paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
½ medium onion, finely chopped (½ cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for coating potatoes
½ slice firm white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon milk
½ lb bulk breakfast sausage (1 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
5 cups salad greens (2 oz)

  1. Prick potatoes with a fork. Microwave, covered with a paper towel, on high power until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Cutting lengthwise, remove top fourth of each potato and scoop out centers (reserve for another use), leaving ½-inch-thick walls.
  3. Whisk together mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp water, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and 1 ½ Tbsp mustard.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  5. Cook onion in oil with a pinch of salt in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, tear bread into small pieces, then soak in milk in a medium bowl until very soft. Mix in sausage, parsley, onion, and 2 Tbsp mayonnaise sauce with your hands.
  7. Divide filling between potatoes, then coat skins lightly with oil. Bake in a 4-sided sheet pan until sausage is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  8. While potatoes bake, whisk 1 Tbsp mayonnaise sauce with lemon juice, remaining 1 ½ tsp mustard and ½ tsp water, and salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Remove potatoes from oven and turn on broiler. Spoon remaining mayonnaise sauce over filling and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly.
  10. Toss greens with dressing and serve with potatoes.
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