Potato Skins

October 22, 2008


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I made a lot of these. An entire 10-pound bag' s worth. And here is what I learned—if you' re going to make potato skins, be sure to do it the day before making mashed potatoes. The innards are cheap, but it' s always a sad sight to waste food. I must have thrown away 4 pounds of potato flesh in my quest for crispy peels. Potato skins are incredibly simple to make,but do require a variety of steps and some pre-planning. I had never made them before, and was surprised by how involved they were. (Pictured: pre-baked potato skins and a batch half-dressed by hungry guests.)

First, you must bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes, until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Then, you have to let them cool completely. That takes a long time…longer than you might anticipate. Once the taters are cool enough to hold, scoop out the insides, leaving about ¼ inch of flesh along the sides of the skins. If you scoop too aggressively, don' t worry, you can always drop a bit back in to reinforce a too-thinned skin. Once these are ready, the process is simple: pour melted butter with chipotle pepper and sautéd garlic into the boat of each potato. (You can refrigerate these for up to 12 hours.) Once you' re about 30 minutes away from serving them, stick your skins in the oven so that the butter melts into each one and makes them crispy—you may want to brush any puddles up along the sides so that no potato gets dry. About 5 or 10 minutes before serving, throw a handful of Cheddar / Monterey Jack cheese over each skin. Serve with sour cream, tomato salsa, chives, diced onion, diced jalepeño pepper, diced bacon and some cilantros. If you want these to get truly crispy and delicious, keep them in the oven at 200 for an extra 15-20 minutes. These are perfect for a casual party. EVERYBODY likes saucy, crispy spuds and it' s not every day that you can create something simply to serve as a vehicle for butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon. Just be sure to have many rolls of paper towels on hand: these can get dribbly.

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