Winter is rapidly winding down to a close. (We get to change our clocks this weekend!) And, as with every year, I find myself both welcoming the warmer weather and fresh vegetables as much as I dread saying goodbye to all the warming comfort foods of winter. So this year, instead of putting those comfort foods away until the temperatures take a nose dive again, I've decided to adapt some of them for year-round enjoyment. With so many winter staples to choose from, it is hard to know where to start, but the humble baked potato seems like a good idea. Instead of just tossing Idaho's best into an oven before smothering it with sour cream and chives, here we have finely (almost) sliced Yukon Gold potatos, roasted garlic goats milk yogurt, and some tangy-sweet red onion and jalapeno confit. Shredded cheddar and crumble bacon need not apply.
1 head of garlic
half of a red onion
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tbsp balsamic reduction
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup goats milk yogurt
fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F. While the oven is heating up, carefully slice potatoes every 1/8th of an inch, only going about 3/4 of the way down. (Two dowels on either side of the potato will help you cut to the right depth without going through). Place the potatoes in salted water until ready to roast. In a cast iron skillet, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil over low heat with several sprigs of thyme.
When the oil takes on the flavor of the thyme, remove the herbs from the skillet. Drain the potatoes well, and coat the potatoes in the oil thoroughly. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and move cast iron pan to the oven. Also, slice the top third off of a head of garlic, removing excess papery skin, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in the oven alongside the cast iron pan. Roast both for about 40 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, slice the red onion lengthwise into thin slivers. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions, but do not let them turn brown. Add the pomegranate juice, sliced jalapeno, and balsamic reduction (that you made yourself, right?) and lower the heat to a slow simmer. Gently simmer until almost all the juice is absorbed and the onions are very tender. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
Remove the potatoes and garlic from the oven when they are done. Carefully remove the garlic from the aluminum foil and allow to cool for a minute before squeezing the now soft cloves into a bowl. Gently mash with a fork and stir in the goats milk yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over potatoes. Serve with the confit and garnish with parsley.