twice as good

food detective

Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on April 28, 2015 by Sandy Bergsten

In our family the birthday girl dictates the celebratory meal. Most often the menu features bacon wrapped grilled fillets, asparagus or broccoli tossed with lemon and the ever-present twice-baked potato. But as the girls have grown so have their palettes.

On a recent trip to Whole Foods in Palm Desert they were offering samples of crispy prosciutto; not far away was a display of little cubes of creamy Manchego cheese. You might not know this about me but I am queen of free tastes. Maybe it’s my early retirement and the new found ability to meander endlessly among the sampling stations at various grocery stores and specialty food shops. If you plan it right you can consume a mere feast close to the noon hour at one of many locations. You just have to assume the “I don’t care”, “oh I didn’t notice that”, or “what a pleasant surprise” demeanor and then try not to take out some blue-hair who is doing exactly the same thing. Clever are the marketing folks at these venues because I almost always purchase their jam, relish, simmering sauce. On this trip to Whole Foods the free samples gave birth to one of the best twice baked potatoes I would ever make.

Hard to believe my little girl just turned twenty-five. In honor of her silver celebration I took out all the stops and grilled up some wagyu fillets, whipped up a batch of béarnaise, perfectly steamed spring asparagus spears and made twice-baked potatoes with prosciutto, manchego and crème fraiche

For the prosciutto crisps begin by lining a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the prosciutto slices down flat.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until the fat turns golden and meat is slightly darker, about 15 minutes (be sure to rotate the baking sheet halfway through the baking time).

Carefully transfer the prosciutto to paper towels to drain (it will continue to crisp as it cools). This prosciutto can be used like bacon, in whole pieces or crumbled.

Pierce scrubbed baking potatoes in several spots with a fork. Place directly on the oven rack and bake until very tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes.

Using an oven mitt or cloth towel, grasp one potato at a time and with a serrated knife cut off top quarter of the potato.

Using a spoon scoop out the potato, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shell, transfer the potato flesh to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

Mash the potatoes until smooth with the butter.

Mix in the grated cheese.

Then the crème fraiche.

Add half and half a little at a time if a smoother consistency is desired.

Carefully stir in the crumbled prosciutto. Season with salt and pepper, but note that the prosciutto and manchego are already quite salty.

Spoon the potato mixture back into the shells, dividing evenly.

Place potatoes on baking sheet lined with heavy-duty foil.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the stuffed potatoes until the filling is heated through and tops are lightly browned, about 20-30 minutes. These can be made earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Be sure to bring to room temp before baking or bake them in the oven for a longer period of time until they thoroughly heated through.

And no birthday dinner is complete without one of my hopelessly homemade birthday cakes. Happy birthday Hopie!

post a comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.