In case you didn’t notice the blistering heat indices afflicting our lovely nation, let me tell ya… it’s been really hot outside. That means I don’t use the oven much, but when I do bake, I do it in the morning before the sun starts tormenting my feeble air conditioning.
Grilling season is in full swing and so that means that while most people focus on the steak and the marinade, and all that fancy stuff, I’m thinking about some vegetable skewers, salads, sweet corn, baked beans, veggie burgers and this lovely side dish. A rich and comforting twice baked potato.
I am apparently one of the few that has always loved broccoli. It was always my favorite vegetable as a kid, so I don’t really understand many others’ aversion to this underrated, humble vegetable. However, one thing I definitely understand is that smothering it in tangy sharp cheddar cheese and seasoning it into delicious submission with black pepper and sea salt will always impress even the worst of the broccoli cynics. It’s empirically delicious, in my honest opinion. You can disagree all you’d like, but you’d have to try it before you completely declare broccoli hatred. I think you might be a changed person because of it.
I do the initial baking in the morning when it’s still cool. That way the oven isn’t on for hours in the sun-scorched afternoon. Just finish it off a half hour before dinner time and you’re good to go. You might even be able to put these on a top rack of a grill to finish. I’ve yet to try that but I’d be intrigued to test it out in the near future.
Simple and easy, quick to finish and deliciously hearty and comforting.
Broccoli and Cheddar Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes
- 2 extra large baking potatoes
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 6 ounces marbled sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon grated shallot
- 2 cups of broccoli florets (you may add more if desired)
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- parsley or chives, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and wrap potatoes in foil. Bake until tender, then remove from oven and bring to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.
Unwrap potatoes, and using a spoon, scoop out the potato and reserve in a mixing bowl, leaving a rim of white on the skin so they’re not too flimsy to stuff. Steam the broccoli until tender but still slightly crisp and still brightly colored.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place skins into a shallow oven safe dish. Bake empty potato skins until crisp, or about ten minutes.
Add melted butter, grated shallot and half of the grated cheese to the reserved potato and mash. Fold in steamed broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Scoop potato mix back into the baked potato skins and top with remaining cheddar cheese. Place in preheated oven until bubbly (about 5-7 minutes)
Top with parsley or chives to finish.