Are you ready for some potato skins?
Homemade potato skins topped with a variety of toppings are a great Superbowl snack. | Photo by Melissa Elsmo
Game Day Potato Skins
(makes 1 dozen skins)
Go ahead and substitute small broccoli florets for the bacon to put a vegetarian spin on these game day treats; just don’t think they’re good for you if you do!
6 small russet potatoes
canola oil for frying
salt and pepper
1 cup medium cheddar cheese
5 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Scrub the potatoes, prick each one several times with a fork and place into the preheated oven to bake for 1 hour or until easily pierced with a wooden skewer. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly before cutting each one in half lengthwise. Scoop out enough potato from each half to create shallow boats that are about ½-inch thick.
Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a frying pan until a bread cube sizzles on contact. Fry the skins in batches, turning frequently, until the exteriors begin to crisp and the potato is turning golden brown at the edges (about 3 minutes). Drain on paper towels. Season the skins with salt and pepper and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle the skins with half the crumbled bacon and half of the sliced scallions. Divide the cheese (1 generous tablespoon per potato) among the skins and top with the remaining bacon. Return the skins to the oven until the cheese melts (about 5 minutes).
Top each potato skin with 1 teaspoon of sour cream and sprinkle with the remaining scallions. Serve at once.
Potato Skin Variations:
Once you’ve made a batch of basic potato skins you can feel free to get creative with the toppings! If you are looking for a starting point try four of my favorites and then put your own spin on the skins.
Artichoke: Top the skins with quartered artichoke hearts, sautéed spinach with garlic and smoked mozzarella and bake. Garnish with sliced scallions and diced roasted red pepper.
Italian Beef: Top the skins with shredded Chicago Style Italian beef and Provolone cheese and bake. Garnish with hot or mild giardiniera and grated parmesan.
Brat and Kraut: Top the skins with thinly sliced cooked bratwurst, sauerkraut and cheddar cheese before baking. Garnish with diced white onion.
Chorizo and Guac: Top the skins with cooked ground chorizo, diced poblano pepper and queso fresco before baking. Garnish with sour cream and guacamole.
Updated: January 18, 2013 10:06AM
Growing up in Wisconsin in a house full of die-hard, season ticket-holding Packer fans taught me a thing or two about the sanctity of football.
My dad organized a weekly football pool for our family with some pretty high stakes; all four of us would pony up our quarters in hopes of winning a few bucks and some serious bragging rights at the end of the season. I distinctly remember my dad’s dramatic readings of the weekly matchups, the pressure to pick the winners and the confused expressions on the faces of my loving family each and every time I won. I may have been utterly clueless about football, but I was a really good guesser and had more than a few quarters to show for it! To this day I am not a football fan, but thanks to my dad and his micro gambling ring, there is a big part of me that associates the end of the NFL season with family unity and a genuine sense of fun.
Football season is once again coming to a frenetic playoff peak and all roads lead to the Super Bowl. I may not be able to speak intelligently about rushing yards, ineligible receivers, or roughing the passer, but I know what nibbles make a big game even more memorable.
Tradition dictates football-worthy fare should have a decidedly masculine flair and masses of man-food are always welcome on my game day buffet. Football gatherings offer a perfect opportunity for a good old-fashioned culinary splurge! My friend once served bacon wrapped tater tots that were so wrong they could only be right for a junk food inspired menu. I still dream about those silly tots, but tend to create a new menu every year during the playoff season. Over the years I have served hearty Cincinnati-style chili, complex fish tacos, piles of pulled pork nachos and everything in between.
Despite the fact that I try to change things up from year to year, I am a potato skin loyalist. Somehow the noble potato skin has become synonymous with chain restaurants and the frozen food aisle in the supermarket, but a creative homemade version of this cheesy, fried junk food giant is a must-have on my annual game day menu. Go on and give them a try and remember that changing up the toppings on the potatoes will prevent your game day menu from becoming mundane. I bet more than a couple of quarters they’ll be a hit at your next party!