A baked potato with attitude…I was recently reminded how deliciously satisfying and comforting potato skins can be. I actually almost forgot they were a thing until someone made them for a party recently, and had me hooked. I kept going back to “get more for Emma…” but I’m pretty sure even they didn’t buy that.
So when we got invited to a friend’s house for Super Bowl last week, it was an obvious opportunity for me to give them a try myself.
I swapped butter for a light brush of olive oil and frying for baking, but trust me, the crispy, salty exterior and cheesy, bacon filled center made up for it in spades. You can fill them with just about anything, but I stuck to classics: broccoli cheddar for the vegetarian crowd (or the carnivores who like to pretend the green veggie suddenly makes this appetizer a health food), and bacon cheddar because I know how to make friends.
Turn it into an interactive potato skins bar with sides of sour cream, chives, salsa, guacamole, olives, hot sauce…you name it! Guests will love experimenting with different combinations, and you don’t have to guess what people like. Win/win!
Russet Potatoes (For a party, I used a 5lb bag, Organic)
Shredded cheddar/monterey jack/mozzarella cheese trio
Bacon (I used a 12 oz. package all natural, nitrate-free
Chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)
Kosher salt and pepper
For optional garnish:
Wash/scrub and pat dry potatoes.
Place on a foil lined baking sheet, and pierce many times with a fork.
Brush with olive oil, then season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
While potatoes are in oven, steam fresh broccoli or microwave broccoli florets. Chop into small pieces.
When potatoes are ready, their skin will be crispy, and center should be soft (You can check the tenderness with a fork.) Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In the meantime, place bacon side by side on a foil-lined baking sheet, and pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until crispy. Once cooled, cut into small pieces.
Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to cut each potato in half, lengthwise down the middle.
Using a spoon, scoop out the center of the potatoes into a bowl, leaving about a half inch left in the skins. DO NOT THROW THE POTATOES AWAY (recipe this week for what to do with the leftovers)
Brush the inside of each potato skin with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. (The exterior will already be packed with flavor!)
Sprinkle with cheese and add chopped broccoli or bacon, respectively.
Finish with more cheese, then return to the oven for about ten minutes until cheese is melted and skins are golden.
Serve with toppings of your choice such as sour cream, chives, salsa, guacamole, hot sauce and black olives. Eat and enjoy…you know…for your child.