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Appetizers and Hors d'Oeuvres

Grilling: Potato Skins

Grilling: Potato Skins

[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

20090211-grilled-potato-skins-small.jpgAfter four solid weeks of grilling up party foods, I thought I was done with that genre for a bit. That was until—at the bar the other night while we were collectively commiserating over the Knicks—it was revealed that the NBA All-Star game was on Valentine's.

My wife turned to me and said that's what she wants to do on Sunday.

"What, stay at home eat wings and potato skins while watching basketball? Seriously?" She affirmed. Not wanting to mess up our first Valentine's as a married couple, I made sure this is what she actually meant. Back came another solid "Yes."

So that's exactly what I have planned for this Sunday. I've been making this potato skins recipe from America's Test Kitchen for years. It always produces the best skins, hands down.

I don't why I never thought to grill them until now, but they're a perfect candidate. The heat of the grill cooks the whole potatoes quickly, which then gets scooped out, leaving just a layer of flesh and the skin that crisps when put back on the grill. Topped with the ubiquitous cheddar, bacon, scallions, and sour cream, there's nothing not to love here.

The skins crunch on first bite, then oozes some creamy innards, while packing all the flavors of toppings.

There's room for debate, but I contend the grill made these potato skins even better than normal, adding a very slight smokiness created by some stray butter or cheese that hit coals while the skins cooked.

I know I just made them, but I can't wait until Sunday to have them again. Oh yeah, and to be my wife, who's Valentine wish probably made my the happiest husband around.

Grilled Potato Skins

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

About the author: Joshua Bousel blogs about grilling on his blog, The Meatwave, and appears weekly here on Serious Eats.

Grilling: Potato Skins

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About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped fine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh scallions
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. While the charcoal is lighting, thoroughly prick the potatoes with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high for 8 minutes, turning them over after 4 minutes.

  2. 2

    When the charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour the coals out and arrange them on either side of the charcoal grate, keeping the middle empty. Transfer the potatoes to grill, placing them in the middle of the grill, not over the coals, cover, and cook until a paring knife glides easily through the flesh, about 20 minutes. Remove from the grill, slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and let cool.

  3. 3

    While the potatoes are on the grill, cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.

  4. 4

    When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out and discard the flesh, leaving and 1/4-inch layer of potato on the inside of each skin. Brush the potatoes inside and out with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Move the potatoes back to the middle of the grill, cover, and let cook until they're light golden brown and crisp, about 7 minutes.

  5. 5

    Sprinkle the potato skins evenly with the cheddar cheese and bacon, cover, and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbly, about 7 minutes more. Remove from the grill, let cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with scallions and dollop with sour cream and serve.

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