Potato skins are a great appetizer for parties, movie or sport nights. They are a wonderful way to transform simple potatoes into fun finger food for the whole family. They keep well for a few days too.
Potato skins are traditional usually served with melted cheese, bits of bacon, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions with a side of salsa. Served piping hot, they are beautiful, and so good.
If you know me, you will expect a variation on this classic because once you have your skins perfectly baked, you have an eatable container that invites various combinations of flavors.
French Herb Butter
We harvested a nice bunch of fresh parsley from our garden, so I decided to make fresh herb butter . That got me thinking about using it to fill my potato skins. This is the same incredible herb butter that is used in escargot a la Provençale (not that we eat snails but the sauce it truly divine!), baked potatoes or just on a warm French baguette.
Making Herb Butter
What makes this herb butter is the fresh parsley, lots of it and super finely minced. I use vegan butter like Earth Balance, or Miyoko’s Creamery, add a pinch of turmeric to get a nice yellow hue you find in regular butter. You need to add garlic, shallots, lemon juice and salt. Some vegan sour cream can be added too.
Most of the time making this recipe is baking the skins. It is done in 3 stages. You start by baking whole yellow potatoes, about40 minutes at 400 F. Then you let them cool off a little so that you can slice them in half. Delicately scoop the middle section with a small spoon making sure to leave about 1/4 inch on the inside and especially at the bottom.
And what goes great with herb butter when you are in a French mood? Sundried tomatoes, capers, shredded vegan cheese, arugula, mushrooms… you get the idea!
If you make this dish as an appetizer, you don’t want to pile up the filling. Just layer some complimentary flavors like sundried tomatoes in oil, vegan cheese, capers, green or pickled onions. You can make this a full-fledged entree by selecting larger potatoes and filling them with more goodies.
Best Potatoes for Potato Skins
Russet potatoes are usually best for jacket potatoes because the skin crisps easily because they are quite starchy with low moisture. The skin is more nutritious than the flesh. How about that?
I have also used medium sized yellow potatoes. They are more tender but they melt in your mouth. I also like them because they have the right side for one or two bites!
Bake the whole potatoes the day before and you only need 20 minutes to complete the dish.
Prepare the herb butter the day before so that it has the time to harden.
French Potato Skins
- 4 medium russet or yellow potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil or spray
- 1 stick of vegan butter (Earth Balance, Miyoko's Creamery)
- 3 tbsp vegan sour cream
- 2 shallots peeled and finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 cup finely minced fresh parsley
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup sundried tomato strips in olive oil (or rehydrated if dried)
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheese
- 1 tbsp small capers
- 1 cup green onion chopped
- 3 tbsp vegan sour cream
- basil leaves
Make the herb butter
- Mince the cup of parsley, and the 2 peeled shallots or use a food processor.
- Melt the vegan butter, sour cream, lemon juice, turmeric powder and salt in a pan.
- Remove from heat and fold in the parsley and shallots.
- Pour into a small tin lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate overnight until firm.
Prepare the skins
- Shred the vegan cheese, chop the sundried tomato strips into small pieces.
- Gently scrub the potatoes if needed.
- Place them whole on a baking sheet or shallow baking dish.
- Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes until they are cooked through. Remove from oven.
- Set aside for a few minutes so that you can handle them.
- Cut each potato in half and gently scoop the middle section with a small spoon leaving about 1/4 of an inch of potato. Make sure not to puncture the bottom!
- Increase the temperature to 425 F, brush again with some olive oil and sprinkle some salt.
- Bake the skins in a roasting pan and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and bake another 10 minutes.
- Time to fill the skins! Add a small amount of herb butter, sprinkle some vegan cheese, a few bits of sundried tomatoes, a few capers, and basil leaves, and bake for another 2-3 minutes.
- While the potatoes are finishing to bake, chop the green onions.
- Taste one and adjust seasoning if needed. Top with green onions and serve immediately!