Thursday, January 24, 2013

Baked Potato Skins

Honestly, I can't go through the Sunday coupons without deciding to make something decadent.  It's especially bad during the run-up to Superbowl.  (I can use the word because I don't make money from this site.)  One page gave me two ideas.  This is the one I've had before; the stuffed biscuits I'm going to make later are simply something I have to try, like the bacon pie.

I did balk at the amount of oil used, but it makes sense.  If you're going to cook potatoes at such a high temperature, they're going to dry out.  The oil is necessary.  Besides, it's healthier than deep-frying and they still come out crispier than any I've had at a restaurant.

As for the scooped-out insides of the potatoes, you can freeze them if you don't have an immediate use.  Just make sure they have cooled to refrigerator temperature first, and get as much air out of the bag as possible.

This is based on a version from Simply Recipes.  The changes I made are to the filling.  Potato skins are like pizza.  You can fill them with whatever you want.  Because I chose to make today's vegetarian, they get the Passover label.  There's no reason you couldn't use barbecued chicken or pork in the filling, or some fancy cheese like brie or gorgonzola.  Bacon and cheddar is merely the traditional version.  Feel free to experiment.

Oh, and ignore the salad.  It was the only way I could justify eating them as a main course.

6 small to medium russet potatoes (the ones that come in the 5-lb bag)
Olive oil
Canola or peanut oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Other appropriate seasonings
About 2 C of filling of choice
1 C shredded or crumbled cheese
Sour cream or salad dressing for garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 400º.  Scrub potatoes clean and pat dry.  Rub outsides with olive oil.  Place on a raised rack in a roasting pan.  I highly recommend lining the pan with aluminum foil now, so you don't forget to do it later.  Bake 45 min to 1 hour, until potatoes are soft but not mushy.  Allow to cool for up to half an hour, until cool enough to handle.

2.  Turn up oven to 450º.  Slice each potato in half lengthwise.  Most potatoes have one way that's wider than the other; cut along that.  Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out insides, leaving about 1/4" all the way around.  Keep the insides for another use, like mashed potatoes.  Rub potatoes inside and out with the canola oil (don't use olive because it has a lower smoke point and will break down).  Place skins back on rack in roasting pan and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn over and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and get the fillings ready.

3.  Place all potatoes skin-side down on rack.  Fill each hollow with your filling, which may include a sauce or spices.  Top each with 1 Tb or so of cheese.  Return to oven for 2-5 minutes, until cheese is melted and toasty.  Serve hot, either garnished with sour cream or with a dressing on the side.

Difficulty rating :)

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