Earlier this week, my wife and I celebrated our 8-year anniversary of our first date. We went to see Avatar and ate at TGIFridays. We had an amazing time. Obviously, life-long connections were made.
I look back. I remember looking dorky in those 3-D glasses in the theater. I remember thinking how great it was that she likes Fridays too! She ordered and HOUSED an order of potato skins.
After the ‘glow’ of early romance turned into truth and honesty – I learned she HATES going to the movies (especially in 3-D) and it pretty much dead-set against chain restaurants. WOW – and yet, she stayed. WOOHOO!
Potato skins have remained one of our go-to food orders to remember our lives back in the early days of dating. On one vacation in Maine, we went to the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine and ordered their potato skins. They came with a literal BOWL of sour cream. If my wife could swim in sour cream, she would. They may have gone down as the best potato skins we’ve ever had.
A few weeks ago, we made potato skins as part of our 6-course appetizer afternoon-long menu for New Years Eve and we can’t get enough.
I know, I know… enough with the story, Keith – get me the recipe already!
This really couldn’t be easier. How do I know? My wife taught me how to do this without anyone crying!
PrePrep: Shred cheese. Maybe 2 cups or so – depends on the cheesiness you’re looking for, but change up the flavors a bit – the world doesn’t need to live in cheddar alone.
Chop some fresh chives. A couple tablespoons will be good.
Step One: Get some GOOD bacon. Seriously – make it real bacon – local is the best option. Put the frying pan away. Lay the bacon out on a cookie tray/baking sheet.
Pop it in the oven at 400 degrees. In about 15 minutes you’ll really start smelling heaven on earth! Keep an eye on the bacon and when you see it crisped up – take it out of the oven – LEAVING the oven on.
Step Two (do this while the bacon is cooking): Poke some holes in a bunch of russet potatoes (figure everyone will have at least 2 skins so figure 1 to 2 potatoes per guest. Place them in the microwave for 8-10 minutes. Until you can put a fork in and they’re soft.
Step Three: Cut the potatoes in half, the long way. Then scoop out the soft potato. Be sure to leave enough potato on the skin to not let it fall apart!
HINT: Put the scooped out potato in a bowl – this will be perfect for quick mashed potatoes later, or even to use under eggs in the morning for breakfast!
Step Four: Take the bacon off the baking tray and place onto a plate covered in paper towel – this will aid in the crisping up of the bacon.
DON’T DRAIN THE BACON GREASE OFF THE BAKING SHEET!
No, no no. You don’t waste good bacon grease! Put the emptied potato skins on the baking tray – in the bacon grease. Then spoon some of the grease off the pan directly on and into the potato. This will really help the skins crisp up as they cook. Sprinkle on some salt.
Step Five: Put the skins back into the hot oven. Keep an eye on them. They won’t take long to crisp up and you don’t want to burn them. Maybe another 3 or 5 minutes tops.
Step Six: While the skins finish off in the oven, get a good knife (don’t have a good chef’s knife – go buy one. It’s a Modern Man tool no one should be without. Check out the Shop This Story section below). Chop up the bacon into ‘bits’. Please sample. For no other reason other than you have hot bacon sitting there in front of you.
If, right now, you’re thinking you’ll just use a container of Bac’n Bits instead – stop reading now. Go outside, spin around three times and spit. Then never think that again.
Step Seven: Take the skins out of the oven, and fill the potatoes with cheese and bacon and back into the oven. If you have a broil option – go for it. Leave them in there a few more minutes – until the cheese is melted.
Step Eight: Take the skins back out. Remove them from the pan (save the pan of grease for tomorrow’s breakfast if you’re smart) and place onto a paper towel to crisp up a little bit more. Top with the chopped chives.
Step Nine: Fill a BOWL with sour cream.
Step Ten: Serve with the sour cream and feel the warm joy of an amazing potato skin.
If you have any left over – save them for breakfast. Top them with a fried egg in the morning and you’ll start the day off right!
So, gonna try this? Let me know how it goes! What are your go-to appetizers?
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