I can't argue with potatoes and cheese.
|A Book of Selected Recipes, Mrs. George O. Thurn, 1934|
Amounts to taste:
Cooked, peeled potatoes
Shredded cheddar, colby jack, or any yellow cheese
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a sheet pan.
Put the potatoes through a ricer or a grinder. Spread in a layer on the pan, taking care not to compress them. Leave them nice and fluffy.
Sprinkle lightly with cheese, and (if desired) with salt. Bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 30 minutes.
A Book of Selected Recipes, Mrs. George O. Thurn, 1934
It's gotten cold again, which means we're no longer insane to bake potatoes in an extra-hot oven for over two hours!
|I tried to make the butter stand up like a stegosaurus spine, but it melted too fast.|
British-style jacket potatoes only happen when it's cold out, which makes them a rare treat in this climate. I was more excited about the potatoes than the pot roast. However, they don't refrigerate well. When you reheat them in the microwave, they're just like any other microwave-baked potato. You lose the crispy-crackly skin and the almost unrealistically fluffy interior that you had when the potato came out of the oven. Look at that beautiful, almost caramelized layer of potato that lies just beneath the skin when you peel them!
While I do still pop the occasional potato in the microwave for a low-effort snack, these potatoes which were so perfect the first time seem like they deserve better. Fortunately, Mrs. George O. Thurn has a way to hopefully keep these spuds as magical as they were the first time. It involves one of my favorite kitchen devices: a meat grinder!
I would love to say that you can use a cheese shredder since more of us have one of those than a potato ricer or a meat grinder. But despite my most determined attempts, cheese shredders are useless on baked potatoes.
Apparently Mrs. George O Thurn could direct her readers to get out a potato ricer without her entire audience telling her she was out of touch and that no one had one of those things at home. Maybe instant mashed potatoes rendered the spud ricer obsolete to everyone who didn't have passionate opinions about mashed potatoes.
I've noticed that recipes meant to creatively alter leftovers pervade cookbooks right until everyone got a microwave. After that, we abruptly stopped putting effort into making last night's dinner exciting again. That makes gilt-edged potatoes a true relic from a bygone culinary era. You rarely see "Your family won't recognize those leftovers!" in the note above a recipe published in the last thirty years.
I love how Mrs. George O Thurn just says to use "yellow cheese." Also, it occurs to me: we already have the potatoes, so does that make the cheese the gilding? If calling the cheesy spuds "gilt-edged" is Mrs. George O Thurn's way of saying cheese is as good as gold, we at A Book of Cookrye heartily endorse the message.
In full disclosure, this doesn't look particularly presentational when you drop a spatula-load of spuds on a plate. However, cheesy potatoes are so delicious that the presentation doesn't matter at all.
The potatoes didn't get as crisp as I expected, but I don't care. This is delicious. Also, leftover gilt-edged potatoes are better in the microwave than the leftover baked potatoes you started with.
As a final postscript, I told my grandmother that we were using an extravagance of oven heat to make baked potatoes. When I told her how we cut crosses in the tops and then bake them in an extra-hot oven for two hours, she said her mother used to do potatoes just like that! It's so neat to accidentally land on what would have been a family recipe had anyone written it down.