I scored very high on standardized testing.
Last night I tried The Pioneer Woman's oddly monikered Crash Hot Potatoes—small round potatoes boiled until fork-tender, gently smashed (or, in my case, obliterated) on a cookie sheet, dabbed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary, and roasted until flaky and crispy on the outside and tender and buttery inside.
I didn't get a decent shot of the finished result because I lost the light, but trust me when I say these are some of the best homemade potatoes I've ever produced.
The peels get crackly and salty, and the flesh tastes like it's drowning in butter even though it's only kissed with olive oil. You have to go make these now.
I'm not kidding.
Seriously, I'll wait.
OK, fine. If you must continue your rapt attention to my prose, you must.
Alongside, Ina's Caesar Club Sandwich. Why? Because I defy you to find anything Ina makes that isn't perfection.
Bone-in chicken goes into the oven with a smear of oil and salt and pepper. That's it. (Don't mess with Ina.)
Just 35 minutes later it's sitting on a plate staring at you, all mock modest and "What? Like you've never seen tender, moist chicken before?"
I almost snuck a taste—what Ina does to chickens can bring even strident vegetarians to the meat counter, and I'm not a strident vegetarian. I have strident opinions, and a strident demeanor, and strident heartburn, but that's pretty much where it ends.
The recipe calls for a dressing made from mayo, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, and anchovy paste, but the Winn-Dix was out of (or never carries) anchovy paste. It's a little more downscale, as grocers go, which is why I frequent it. And why it sells 10 for $10 CheezBallz but not anchovy paste.
A whirl in the little processor
and spread on toasted bread.
The toasting—shoving the loaf (which Ina helpfully reminds imbeciles to "slice in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom")—is supremely important, because the toppings are robust and the bread is ... well, on the Woodside, cheap.
It peps up the taste and texture to have some crispityness happening. Technical term, that.
Next, the chopped chicken, bacon slices (the Winn-Dix don't do prosciutto), lettuce (the Winn-Dix don't do arugula), and sun-dried tomatoes (nixed because while the Winn-Dix DO do sun-dried tomatoes, they cost $8 a jar). Also some shaved Parmesan and some slices of Monterey Jack cheese, which I added to give heft to the vegetarian half.
I could have gone with fresh tomatoes, but some crazy weirdos don't like them.
So freakin' good. And worth it, all the extra steps that elevate a sandwich from Subway to holycrap. The secret is really in the dressed-up mayo, which will make you never want plain old Hellman's again. Because the flavor is so pronounced, with the fresh lemon and bright parsley and tangy Dijon, you don't need a lot. That way, you can eat half a loaf of bread and not feel guilty.
I feel it necessary to point out that I have not, in fact, turned into a chicken sandwich as a result of this culinary exploit.
Which reminds me:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Thanks for the forehead.