Working from home means I’m often eating lunch at my desk, typing away or searching the depths of the Internet when the hunger pains hit. If you follow me along on Instagram or Twitter, then you can probably tell that I like to keep these meals as simple as possible. Although I am a big fan of menu planning when it comes to our weekly dinners, my thought process for lunch time is much more general. I like to put together quick meals with whatever we have on hand, usually using up pantry items and cleaning out the fridge of leftovers and scraps. My go-tos are the obvious: salads, pasta, grains with veggies, or the remains from dinner the night before. I have my favorites, and now that I’ve accepted hard-boiled eggs as a food option, an egg, along with mashed-up avocado on wheat crackers, has become a new staple for a quick and satisfying lunch.
Last weekend we were flipping through a few issues of Bon Appetit, looking for some new dinner menu ideas, and a big photo of a beautiful baked potato caught my eye. I grew up eating baked potatoes, usually covered in cheddar cheese, sour cream, and plenty of salt and pepper, and they were always an easy dish to prepare for staff meal back when I was working in restaurant kitchens. Although potatoes are used in many dishes in German cuisine, it’s not common to see baked potatoes here, and so the magazine spread sparked my nostalgic cravings. I picked up a few large potatoes at the store and planned them for my easy lunches this week. To make the potatoes more filling, I put together this creamed spinach topping. Together with some grated parmesan and breadcrumbs, it’s a delicious meal, one I was happy to eat several days in a row. But the baked potatoes are really just a canvas; the topping ideas are endless. The Bon Appetit article also suggests trying the potatoes with smoked salmon and crème fraîche, which sounds like a wonderful take on brunch for a chilly day.
Creamed Spinach Baked Potatoes
Yield: 4 servings
4 large potatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon bacon fat
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups fresh spinach
200 grams heavy cream
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Preheat an oven to 176°C. Coat the potatoes in the olive oil and toss in salt and pepper. Place on a sheet tray and roast for one hour, rotating half way through.
While potatoes are roasting, place a small amount of water in a 4-qt pot and bring to a boil. Place the spinach in a steamer, place in the pot, cover, and cook until wilted, about two minutes. Remove spinach, drain, and squeeze dry with a kitchen towel. Set aside.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the bacon fat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until soft, about three minutes. Add the flour and continue to cook, stirring, for another two minutes. Add the cream, bring to a boil, then add the spinach and half of the cheese. Cook until thickened and season with salt and pepper.
When the potatoes are soft and the skin is crisp, remove from the oven. Cut open each potato, top with a portion of creamed spinach, and garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. The creamed spinach can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.