Disclosure: I developed this recipe in partnership with Gourmet Garden, who compensated me for this post. All opinions remain my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that rock my world!
This weekend has been amazing! I was a little like a kid with no curfew–the Big Guy went to Maine on a ski trip with his buddies and the kids spent Saturday night at my mother-in-law’s house. With no one other than the dog at home, I had the freedom to indulge. In great local entertainment, courtesy of The Desultory Theatre Club. In delightful desserts, thanks to Hardcore Sweet Cupcakes. And in staying out very late, because what was the rush to go home?
I actually did stop home after the show to slip into something more comfortable–the kind of more comfortable still suitable for going out in public, of course–and headed back out to the only place you can eat 24 hours a day in town: the local diner.
As a kid, this place was open 24/7/365. Now, they’ve reduced their operating hours to 6am-2am Sunday-Thursday, and 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s like the opposite of Planet Fitness. But a lot more fun.
The food isn’t anything special. It’s your typical Greek-owned diner, though the menu has been pared down in recent years. The draw for me is that I can get breakfast any time of day… they did it way before McDonald’s signed on. And on nights when you’ve been out drinking, it’s the perfect place to go to sop up what’s in your belly before heading home.
Last night I didn’t drink. Honest, I swear! But I also was so busy yesterday that I barely ate and once the evening came to a close, I wanted breakfast in the worst way. Not so much that I was willing to rip apart my own kitchen for it. It was already a mess from recipe developing earlier in the evening and I didn’t want to add to it. But enough that I went back out after midnight and ordered myself a plate of pancakes and scrambled eggs–yes, eggs!!! me!!!–sipped on an orange juice, and finished up book 2 of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series.
The thing is, I almost wavered on my usual order. Potatoes were calling to me. Often, I’ll order based on whether or not I can get some form of potatoes with the rest of my food. This was actually how I ended up eating eggs in adulthood–if it came with home fries or hash browns, I wanted it. I wasn’t planning on it when I walked through the doors, though. But then I remembered that hidden in the back of the menu is a specialty: disco fries. Their version of poutine, with fries drenched in gravy and cheese, and the perfect middle of the night indulgence when you’re already claiming indulgence as the theme for your weekend. I hesitated. I flipped the menu back and forth. I almost did it. And then… I didn’t. Pancakes it was. My usual.
Today though… I had to have potatoes.
I love potato skins. I almost bought the frozen variety at the start of the weekend. But then I remembered that I write recipes and buying frozen potato skins is kind of sad, especially when you think about how easy it is to make your own. So I didn’t. And today, I worked on my Italian version of them instead. Because we’ve all been there, done that, and it was time for something different. I paired ricotta–a mild cheese that makes up so many Italian dishes I love–with Gourmet Garden’s Italian Herbs paste…then I threw Italian cheeses on top of that. Because that’s the way I work. A little lightly dried parsley on top to make it all pretty and we’re good to go. They’re cheesy, they’re herby, and my daughter–when she came back from my mother-in-law’s house–ate most of them by herself. Thus ends my weekend of indulgence. At least I made her very happy.
Have you tried Gourmet Garden yet? I always pretend I can grow things, and often do try to grow my own herbs…but I am notorious for forgetting to water them. No worries with Gourmet Garden in the fridge! You get the fresh taste you love and it lasts so much longer than those bunches of fresh herbs you’d pay for in the grocery store, saving you money in the long run! No need to save them for a weekend of indulgence… I use their pastes and lightly dried herbs in my everyday cooking. It’s so much easier that way!
- 1½ pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon flaky sea salt
- ½ cup ricotta
- 1 Tablespoon Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs paste
- ½ cup shredded Italian Cheese Blend
- 1-2 Tablespoons Gourmet Garden lightly dried Parsley
- Place potatoes on a heat-proof plate, poke holes in them with a fork, and microwave for 8 minutes.
- Slice in half and scoop out the insides, leaving a ¼" edge all the way around. (Reserve the insides for another use, like mashed potatoes.)
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the potato halves with the skin side up. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on each skin.
- Broil on high on the middle rack for 3 minutes. Remove from oven, use tongs to flip over, and brush the insides with melted butter. Sprinkle with sea salt and return to oven to broil for an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove from oven and turn it down to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl, stir the Italian Herbs paste into the ricotta.
- Using a melon baller, place a scoop of ricotta mixture inside each potato skin. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the tops.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese melts and caramelizes.
- Sprinkle with parsley before serving.