Just like how grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese, meat loaf and all those other comfort foods that diners love, potato skins are now getting a chic remodeling.
A lot of restaurant chefs, mostly from independent dining places, are using these staples as canvas for their creativity. Nation’s Restaurant News bunched up some new, one-of-a-kind potato skin dishes across the country, showing off how gourmet chefs use unique ingredients and methods to liven up this menu item.
1 Chef Daniel Stern from R2L in Philadelphia, for instance, combines the meat of baked potatoes with aged Cheddar cheese, seasoning and bacon; then he places them back inside the skins and deep fry them. The delectable dish is served with scallions and horseradish crème fraiche (a rich type of sour cream) for $6 to $10 during late nights and happy hour.
2 Chef, restaurateur and catering-operator Anthony Pino from Hoboken, New Jersey serves his potato skins with taleggio cheese, Brussels sprouts and pancetta (Italian bacon). First, he’d bake Red Bliss potatoes, slice them in half and scoop its center. He would then stuff the potatoes with diced taleggio cheese, caramelized and shaved Brussels sprouts, then add crispy pancetta. Customers love it hot upon serving, best heated for 3 to 5 minutes. Five pieces of these delicious treat is priced in his menu in elegant restaurant menu covers at $9.
3 Chef Jeffrey Forrest from Park Avenue Tavern in New York, on the other hand, delves with potato skins as home fries, using a version which he learned from another chef in North Carolina. He would simmer whole Yukon Gold potatoes for nearly an hour, allowing the skins to start breaking before he pulls them out, drain them and put them out to dry.
Once customers order the potato skins, he would smoothly crush the cooked potatoes so that the insides would press on the skin some more. He would then deep fry them at 360 degrees Fahrenheit waiting for it to turn golden brown before he takes them out of the pan. Plating would be done skin-side down, topped with Amish Jack, fontina and Cheddar cheeses, crème fraîche, thyme and parsley. Price is at $8.
4 Studio at the Montage Laguna Beach’s Chef Craig Strong makes French pommes soufflés (fried potato) filled with potato puree. He would first fry ¼ inch thick potato slices – at 325 degrees Fahrenheit on the first minute then increase at 375 degrees until the potatoes swell.
He would then prepare a potato puree using peeled and diced potatoes, simmered in chicken stock and heavy cream. They’ll then be pulsed in a blender until smooth.
Next step would be to get one liter of the puree, pour it in a saucepan, and place 2 grams each of low-acl and high-acl gellan gum ( to form gels) and gradually bring the pan to a boil. He blends the mixture again, straining it with a fine sieve.
He would then pour the puree into a charged whipped cream flask, squirting it into a piping bag. He would jab small holes in the pommes soufflés and fill it up with the foamed puree.
The potatoes are garnished with chives, bacon powder and crème fraiche, and becomes a part of an array of hors d’oeuvres, featured in their menu (in well-designed restaurant menu covers) at$25.