March 5, 2016
Since I mentioned it yesterday, here was the House of Cards dinner from last night:
Not to be ignored, though, were the first strawberries of the season:
Dinner, and House of Cards, were both good. No spoilers as far as HoC goes, I promise; I will just say that the series is looking up from last year, which I thought was something of a disappointment. I have three episodes left to finish today, and then I may go back and watch the original BBC version again.
“You may think so. I couldn’t possibly comment.”
Anyway, eggs and potato skins. Come to think of it, that’s more or less a deconstructed potato salad, which is one of my favorite foods.
One of the best things I ever learned to do is, when making deviled eggs, cut them in half crossways rather than longways, and then slice a tiny slice off each end. If you do not possess a deviled egg plate, as I do not, you can then put them on a regular plate without them slip-sliding around.
Like a lot of dishes, I err on the side of simplicity in deviling eggs. The standard issue has merely egg yolks, a teaspoon or so of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon or so of Hellman’s Mayo, some seasoned salt, and some sweet pickle relish. The filled halves get a healthy sprinkle of sweet Hungarian paprika.
If I want variety, I’ll leave out the pickle relish and add some flaked smoked salmon, and top with caviar. That’s pretty excellent. I didn’t want variety this time.
I’ve detailed the making of potato skins on the blog before. Briefly, one bakes and then scoops the innards out of russett or Yukon gold potatoes, leaving about 1/3 inch of flesh around the outside. I prefer Yukon Gold because the skins are thinner and more tender; russet skin can be tough. I brush the inside of my skins down with bacon grease and broil them until they get a touch of brown, and then dust them lightly with salt.
Once they cool a bit, I start filling. Grated cheese is always the base — and it’s hard to beat grocery store sharp cheddar. Some crumbled, crisp bacon does not go amiss. Green onions are excellent. I’ve also, in the past, added black olives and avocado. You could use whatever struck your fancy.
(Speaking of which, I’ve seen a recipe that involves baking an egg in a potato skin. Sounds pretty wonderful and I’m going to try it sometime.)
Serve ’em hot with sour cream, and they’re as good an appetizer or side dish — or entree, depending on how much and what you stuff into ’em — as you can turn out.
The berries, though. This is the simplest, easiest, best prep for fresh strawberries you can do, and I do it several times each spring.
Wash your berries and let them dry on a few thicknesses of paper towels. Meanwhile, take a tablespoon of sour cream (yes, you can sub Greek yogurt, though I didn’t in this case) and spread it around the center of a salad plate. You want a layer maybe 1/8 inch thick. Over that, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, or raw cane sugar, or turbinado sugar. Any non-refined, coarse-granulated sugar will do. Then just arrange your berries in a ring around the outer edge of the plate, caps facing outward.
To eat, you just dredge the berry through the sour cream and sugar, using the cap as a “handle.”
The first time I ever had this, it was served with the berries chunked or sliced up over the sour cream, with brown sugar sprinkled on top (and called strawberries Romanov). Me, I’m all about easy, so I prefer to just do it like this. It’s about the simplest, easiest, and tastiest way you can present spring’s finest.
Strawberries are on sale at the grocery. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em head out and get you some and try this. On a pretty, sunny, mild day, it can just about make you think it’s spring already.