Potato skins top the list of “most frequently ordered appetizers” at pubs and restaurants. No wonder—they are both hearty and tasty. Using extra-virgin olive oil to oven-fry the potatoes instead of cooking them in a deep-fat fryer keeps it extra healthy. Infusing oil with the flavor of garlic, as demonstrated in this recipe, is a favorite technique! Using extra-special tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, and hand-grated Parmesan keep things super healthy while delighting the tastebuds!
3 medium russet potatoes (1 pound 5 ounces total)
2 fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
14.5-ounce can fire-roasted, diced unsalted tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Scrub the potatoes to remove dirt, and pierce each one several times with a fork to allow steam to escape. Place them on a
baking tray and bake until fork tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool until they are safe
to handle about 10 minutes.
3. While the potatoes bake, infuse the oil with garlic. Cut garlic cloves into large pieces. In a medium saucepan, sauté the garlic
over medium heat in the olive oil until it begins to brown. Discard the garlic. Pour all but 1 teaspoon of the oil into a small
bowl and set aside.
4. To the oil remaining in the pan, add the drained tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high
heat, then reduce heat to keep warm.
5. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise. Using a large spoon, scoop some of the white
flesh of the potato out, leaving the skins just over ¼-inch thick. Refrigerate the scooped-out potato flesh for another use.
6. Place the potato halves on an ungreased baking tray and brush them on all sides with the reserved garlic-infused oil. Return
them to the oven until crispy and brown, about 20 minutes.
7. Just before serving, stir the chopped basil into the tomato mixture. Spoon the sauce into each of the potato skins. Sprinkle
the filled potato skins with ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and extra chopped basil, if desired.
Ingredient Variations and Substitutions
If you have garlic-infused oil on hand, substitute it for the garlic cloves and olive oil; omit the oil-infusing step.
If fresh basil is not available, substitute ½ teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning.
For a vegan variation, omit the parmesan cheese.
Cooking and Serving Tips
This recipe was designed for thick-skinned baking potatoes such as russets. Other potatoes may be used, but cooking time and
texture will vary.