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Loaded baked potatoes—not unlike party subs, the vanity check of sandwiches—are universally beloved, but receive little to no respect. I am here to change that today. With my blog post.
I was first introduced to loaded baked potatoes (to be referred to as LBPs going forward) by my dad, a grand connoisseur of foods with limited nutritional value—and also a man prone to leaning back in his chair after a big meal and proclaiming something like, “Stick a fork in me I’m done.” He taught me how to take said fork and poke a spud for optimal ventilation, then slice and fill it with all manner of artery-clogging accoutrement—butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, scallions. The works, as we call them in LBP biz.
Today, I type before you as a woman of if-not-refined-at-least-slightly-reformed tastes. And this woman has been reacquainting herself with LBPs. These days, though, with love and respect for classic LBPs, I have better ideas about what to load into them. My go-to recipe at the moment is just a combination of my two favorite things right now—labneh and salmon roe—sprinkled with dill. (At the beginning of March, I happened to be working with leftover labneh from dinner at Glasserie in Greenpoint (currently delivering!) and a little tub of salmon roe that I’d recently picked up from Zabar’s.) The labneh basically subs in as a sturdier sour cream, and the salmon roe are salty little fireworks, delivering the kind of savory decadence normally provided by crispy bits of bacon. The dill—forever a fast friend to potatoes, labneh, and salmon roe alike—replaces the scallions. Here’s exactly how to make it:
A note on the labneh: It’s not always available at grocery stores, so you can either make clever use of leftovers from your favorite Middle Eastern or Mediterranean restaurant or prepare it yourself. DIYing is easy and there are lots of recipes online—you basically just combine salt with full-fat yogurt, then strain over a cheese cloth in the fridge for 24 hours.
-Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees
-Stab your potato all over with a fork
-Say you’re sorry by lovingly caressing your potato with a palm full of olive oil
-Kosher salt and pepper all over
-Put in oven for about 50 minutes—1 hour. This may be the longest hour of your wild and precious life
-Take this time to arrange ingredients in an Instagrammable fashion
-Remove potato from oven and let rest for as long as your self-restraint allows, but not so long it loses steam. (The key here is that the potato needs to be hot enough that the melty things will melt.)
-Cut lengthwise with a knife and use the backside of a fork to open potato
-With a spoon, add labneh, then salmon roe, then sprinkle with dill
-Salt and pepper again for good measure
-For added intrigue, consider layering in smoked paprika or za’atar between the labneh and salmon roe. I tried both today and went home (er stayed home) a satisfied customer
This is just my combo of the moment! You may not have labneh handy or a purveyor of affordable salmon roe and good normcore hats nearby. That’s okay: There are lots of other directions one can take with their next-level LBP, and chances are you already have a few supergroups of ingredients lounging around in your fridge like it’s a tour bus stuck in Coachella traffic. (Traffic was a thing that used to exis— never mind.) Carrying on with this dumb metaphor… nearly all good LBP bands feature the following instruments: a vegetable; a sauce, cream, or butter; a cheese; an herb. Plus salt and pepper. Always S&P.
The LBP I Made Last Week
The LBP I Intend to Make Next Week
And my favorite restaurant version…
Pssst… Mekelburg’s is still delivering in Brooklyn 🙂
If you’ve gotten all the way to the end of this article and you still just want to make a Loaded Baked Potato à la regular, I see you and I respect you. All I ask is that you consider doing something a little weird, like throwing A1 sauce, sriracha, or pesto into the mix. And then, of course, let me know how it is?!