Before getting to the recipe, a few words on a topic much more important than any food blog. Another horrific act of violence. This time at one of the longest held and most loved American sporting events (and I must mention, one with international participation). Bombings at the Boston Marathon! Having been both a marathon finisher and a marathon finish line spectator a number of times, as well as having friends running and spectating in Boston on Monday, I was especially shook. Love and prayers go out to all those affected. My runs, for quite some time, will be filled with thoughts of this tragedy and I’ll be inspired by the perseverance, courage, determination and resolve that will rise out of it. Unbelievable pride will be felt the next time I cross a finish line.
Tonight I felt like cooking, but something simple, unfussy, and comforting. What’s more comforting than a great big baked potato? And let’s stuff some salad into it—then it’s a meal! You can create the salad out of anything you have on hand. I had romaine, red bell peppers, pea shoots and one of my new favorites, a vegan sausage made by the Field Roast Grain Meat Company. I used the smoked apple sage variety, and it is amazingly delicious! It works equally well in breakfast and non-breakfast recipes. The ingredients are basic, natural and the flavors combine to be truly special. There aren’t many vegetarian “meats” I recommend, but this is one I endorse and it certainly doesn’t taste like fake anything!
I’ll share a quick dressing I put together, but you can use any dressing you fancy. It only takes few minutes to whip something together and homemade always trumps something from a bottle or jar.
A Simple Supper
2 large russet potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
5 cups chopped romaine, spinach, arugula, or a combination (whatever greens you have on hand)
½ of a red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 Field Roast Grain Meat Co. smoked apple sage sausage, browned (optional)
A handful of pea shoots
1 tablespoon aged white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise)
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Juice of half a lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and dry potatoes. Poke them all over with a sharp knife. Pour a little olive oil in your hands and rub potatoes with a light coating of oil. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt. Bake for about an hour.
In a salad bowl, mix romaine and other greens, bell pepper slices, sausage and pea shoots together. To make dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Toss salad lightly with some of the dressing.
When potatoes are baked, place on two plates and cut an X on the top of each potato. Push together so that the potatoes open up and sort of make a bowl. Drizzle a little dressing on each potato and season with salt and pepper. Divide salad between the two potato “bowls.” Top with some more pea shoots. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Simply delicious!