Festive Alternatives for Holiday Entertaining
Long ago I encountered unadorned baked potatoes served as hors d’oeuvres at a London cocktail party and thought… what a peculiar idea? Not that baked potatoes can’t be delicious and surprisingly elegant, but they do need a little intentness with the addition of some assertive flavors to bring them to life.
Here is my version, Greek in spirit, of twice baked cocktail potatoes that also, full sized, do nicely along with a main course; hearty and sufficiently elegant no matter what the occasion.
Twice Baked Greek Potatoes: serves 6-8
Garlic Onion Confit:
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 dry white wine
- 3-4 anchovy fillets, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions begin to soften. Add the white wine, stir and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring several times while cooking so the onions do not brown.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and add the anchovies, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blitz the mixture into a smooth puree and set aside.
Baked Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450F/ 230C
- 6 to 8 small (3-4 oz/75-100g each) golden potatoes, skin on
- olive oil for brushing
- flaky sea salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup grated feta cheese
- sea salt and fresh ground white pepper to taste
- sun dried tomatoes, black olive halves, or Greek tarama fish roe for garnish
Wash the potatoes and pat them dry. Prick each potato several times with a thin skewer or tooth pick. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and generously salt them all over. Place on a baking tray and place in the oven and bake until softened, but not mushy; about 45 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and cool until they are easy enough to handle. Split each potato in half lengthwise and using a melon baller hollow out the potato halves, leaving enough flesh around the sides and bottom of the potatoes so they will hold their shape. Place the removed potato pulp in a potato ricer, or food mill, and press the potatoes into a mixing bowl.
Add the butter and milk to the potatoes and stir with a wire whisk until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy. Add the Greek yogurt,lemon juice, lemon zest, ½ cup grated feta, and fold in until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Assembling the stuffed baked potatoes:
Place the potato shells on a baking tray and fill each potato shell with the pureed onion garlic mixture to about 3/4 full. Spoon, or pipe, a generous amount of the whipped potato mixture on top of the onion garlic filling, and top each potato with grated feta and a slice of sun dried tomato or black olive if using. If you intend to use tarama fish roe omit the sun dried tomato or olive. The tarama fish roe will be added to the top after baking.
Place the potatoes back in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the onion mixture is bubbling and the feta is softened on the surface.
Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Top with the tarama if using and serve while still warm.