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Nigella Lawson's Guacamole with Paprika-Toasted Potato Skins: "Man Food" for I Heart Cooking Clubs

Posted Nov 11 2009 12:00am
Our theme this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs is "Man Food!" which means simple, hearty fare with big flavor that a man would love. It was a bit difficult to balance "Man Food!" and Nigella with my healthy eating goals but I found some Guacamole with Paprika-Toasted Potato Skins from . They are relatively healthy and what man or woman for that matter wouldn't like a hearty, crispy potato skin dipped in creamy, tangy guacamole?! Nigella has it as the starter for an "Early Autumn Dinner", but it would be great as a game day snack too. The recipe gives you directions for using mashed potatoes as part of the dinner and those I lightened up quite a bit and saved for another dinner.

Nigella says: "This guacamole doesn't include the tomatoes you sometimes find in it. It makes such a difference--it's fresh and sharp, but instead of the usual mush, you end up with a perfect buttery-yellow and jade clay."

How to Eat, Nigella Lawson
(Serves 6)

3 ripe avocados
scant tsp salt
juice of 3-4 limes to taste
4 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1/2-1 fresh green chili, or to taste, minced
4 scallions (white and green parts), sliced thinly

Get everything, bar the avocados, prepped when you get home. Just before you want to eat, peel and stone the avocados and put the flesh in a bowl. Don't worry about how you do it and how pulpy you make the avocado, as it will be mashed. Dissolve the salt in the lime juice and pour it over. Then add the other ingredients and mash with a fork until you have a rough lumpy mixture. At all costs avoid turning it into a smooth purée; by its nature the avocado will be smooth anyway, but you want as many soft but form-holding clumps as possible.

Paprika-Toasted Potato Skins and Their Mashed Pulp
How to Eat, Nigella Lawson
(Serves 6)

9 medium baking potatoes
1 1/4 cups milk, warmed
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or more, if desired
1 heaping tsp fine sea salt plus more
freshly milled black pepper
whole nutmeg
1 heaping tsp paprika
4 tsp olive oil, plus more if needed

Bake the potatoes for 1-1 1/4 hours in a 400 degree F. oven or until the skins are crisp and the flesh soft. Take them out of the oven but leave the oven on. Halve the potatoes lengthwise and with a spoon, scoop out the innards into a bowl, leaving a thin layer lining the skins. When all the potatoes have been emptied into the bowl, mash with the milk, the butter (add more if you like, or less, for that matter), salt, pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg to taste. Put aside to reheat and serve later.

Halve the skins again perpendicularly to your work surface, so you have 4 long "boats" per potato. Mix the paprika with the heaping teaspoon of the salt. Pour the olive oil into a bowl. With a pastry brush, dab the skins on both sides lightly with oil (use more if needed) and then sprinkle the salt mixture over the interior of the skins. Put in the oven and bake another 12-15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and, when cool, arrange on a couple of plates. These taste just right with the coriander-heady, mouth-filling creaminess of the guacamole.

Notes/Results: Great! The guacamole is bright and tangy and goes really well with the crisp skins. The skins are hearty and filling, but I like that they are not heavy and greasy like the cheesy-bacon-sour cream ones. Since I wasn't hosting a dinner for 6, I made a third of the recipe, using 2 potatoes and 1 avocado. For the mashed potatoes from the extra "pulp", I lightened them up considerably by omitting all of the butter and instead adding just a bit of olive oil, roasted garlic, non-fat milk, a bit of salt and lots of black pepper. For the roasted garlic, I threw a bulb in foil (peeling away some of the outer layers and cutting a bit off the top), in the oven about 1/2 way through the potato cooking time, giving me some delicious garlic purée to mix in. Having the garlic gives the mashed potatoes great flavor and you don't miss the butter. These are a great pupu, snack or light dinner with a salad and I would make them again.

You can see what "Man Food" the other IHCC participants made and find out what they thought of it by going to the IHCC site here.

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