When Monday whips your ass….

April 5, 2011

UPDATE: When the above occurs, you wait until Tuesday to publish the post, because you were sleepy and drank too much wine and forgot to push the button!

I actually made it to work in plenty of time and in relatively good shape, all things considered, this morning. But by about 3, Monday had thoroughly whipped my ass. So I came home, cleaned out some loathesome looking stuff from the fridge, and made what used to be my go-to dinner when I’m whipped: Potato skins.

Lovely carb-filled, cholesterol-filled things they are; I never said they were good for you.

These things are good. They’re easy. They’re pretty quick. They lend themselves to noshing on when you’re sitting on the couch and fending off the dog. They’re good when you don’t want to eat much but you know you’ve got to eat something.

All of which are applicable tonight.

I’ve perfected my potato skin technique over a period of years. This combines the easiest and the healthiest and the least clean-up.

Step 1: Cook your potatos — I like to use Yukon Golds, as I don’t like the heavy, tough skin on russets — in the microwave until you can squeeze them and they’re soft. Not mushy soft — just soft enough to squeeze.

Step 2: While they’re cooking, take a good bit of bacon, cut it in small pieces, and throw it in a skillet to brown and crisp over medium heat. Stir it occasionally, and when it’s done, drain it on a couple of paper towels. Turn off the heat, but leave the skillet and the bacon sitting there; you’re coming back to that bacon fat.

There are an odd number of potato skins because I dropped one and Lucy ate it.

Step 3: Cut those potatos  in half and lay them cut-side up on a cookie sheet. Cut them all open at once; this lets them cool off enough that you can handle them more quickly.

Step 4: With a spoon, scoop out the insides of the potato, leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of potato in the skin. Save what you scooped out; imakes a good basis for potato pancakes or hash.

Do Not Skip This Step! It's the difference in "meh" and "Damn, that's good!"

Step 5: This is key. Take your cookie sheet back over to the stove, and with your handy-dandy pastry brush, brush the interior of all those skins with bacon fat. Sprinkle them with a little bit of seasoned salt, but go easy, because your bacon fat is salty, too. Run them under the broiler until they get all crispified.

Step 6: Fill ’em up. I was doing these for the kids, so I stuck to cheese and bacon bits. I like to add some black olives, green onion and roasted red pepper, when I’m feeling ambitious.

Step 7: Pop them back under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Wait as long as you can, and munch them with your favorite dipping accompaniment. I was lazy tonight, so I just used sour cream. A garlic aioli is wonderful. Or you can make yourownself’s blend of mayo, dijon, horseradish, all of the above, or anything else that strikes your fancy. 

Om nom nom!

The cool thing about this? You can get them ready, up to the point of broiling, hours ahead of time and hold them. You can also, if you wish to be all fancy-pants about it, use tiny little fingerling Yukon Golds, or some other variety of potato. Your choice of toppings is limited only by your imagination (sausage? pineapple?  chopped ham? bearnaise? your-mileage-may-vary?) In fact, I’d like to try them with sour cream, blitzed in the broiler, and then a dollop of caviar on top. Anyway, fine party hors’d’ouevre, and one that has that estimable make-it-ahead quality about it. So your cheese glops together after you grate it and put it on the potatos? BFD. You’re gonna melt it anyway, OK? Get over it.

Anyway, with enough wine, and had I wanted to accent it with some of the black bean and corn salad I had in the fridge, it would’ve been a decent dinner. It was more-than-OK, anyway. I got no complaints. And if you and y’mama ‘n ’em want to make some fine potato skins, this would be the way to do it.

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