The Nine Days does need to be all about pasta. Baked potatoes are an all-time favorite and when it comes to dairy cooking, there are so many delicious ways to use the humble spud. Of course, your baked potatoes can be just that — plain potatoes rubbed with oil and baked, or they can be a whole meal. Read on for some yummy ideas. Potatoes are a lot better for you than pasta and they are kid-friendly too.

Always begin by washing potatoes. Then dry them and then rub with oil or butter. Prick skins with a fork. Bake potatoes at 400 degrees F for 1 hour or until done. Smaller potatoes only need about 45 minutes.

Never bake a potato in aluminum foil or in the microwave. When you do either of those things it changes the cooking method from “baking” to steaming and prevents a crisp skin from forming. Poking it with a fork allows steam to escape to ensure your potato skin doesn’t burst open.

Always use russet (Idaho) potatoes for baking — they have just the right amount of starch to make the potatoes dry and fluffy.

Unstuffed Potatoes

Sometimes the add-ins are just piled on top of the baked potato as in the following recipe.

  • 6 russet potatoes

For the filling:

  • 1 bag broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1/2 pound salmon filet, skinned
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven and bake as directed above.

While they are baking prepare the stuffing.

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and blanch broccoli florets for a minute; then remove and drain well.

Cut salmon into small cubes and season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan and sauté the salmon cubes until just cooked through,; about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and prepare the sauce. Make the cheese sauce by combining the butter and flour over medium heat and then whisking in the milk. Fold in about 2 cups cheese and stir until melted. Once melted, remove from heat and fold in the cooked broccoli florets, salmon cubes, and season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the potatoes are done, make two cuts across the top of the potato, in the length and width, and squeeze it from the bottom so a small pouch opens up. Return potatoes to the baking pan.

Spoon the filling over the top of the potato, sprinkle with additional cheese. Put the potatoes back in the oven for 2 more minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Simple Stuffed Potatoes

  • 6 large Idaho potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • You can also add a dozen mushrooms, sliced, to the sautéed onions for even more flavor
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt

Bake potatoes as directed above. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Heat butter in a small frying pan. Sauté diced onions in hot oil until just translucent. Set aside.

Cut off a long, thin slice off one side of the potato and scoop out the flesh. Place in a large bowl. Add the sautéed onions. Add sour cream or Greek yogurt. Add kosher salt to taste.

Mix potatoes until smooth and creamy. Spoon potato mixture back into the potato skins. Alternately, you can put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip like 827, and pipe the potatoes back into the shell.

Return the potatoes to the oven and bake 15 minutes or until filling is crisp. Serve immediately.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.