Crispy, creamy, loaded baked potatoes satisfying enough to be dinner tonight

Garlicky yogurt! Mushroom bacon! Cheese!


Ella Quittner
March 2, 2019 7:59PM (UTC)
This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!
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I grew up in a household that couldn't make up its mind on the topic of potatoes.

My father was a sweet potato man, through and through.

"Idaho potatoes? You mean, wet cardboard?!" he could be heard saying with startling regularity.

Meanwhile, my mother swore by the starchy, non-sweet varieties. Big ones, mashed with creamed leeks. Fingerlings, boiled and tossed with olive oil, salt, lemon juice, and rosemary. New potatoes, halved and baked 'til super crispy.

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It was one of the only food topics upon which they didn't agree, the cause of many a dinner-planning stand-off. Eating and cooking had played such an important role in their early relationship, which began when they vowed to write a comprehensive dumpling guide to lower Manhattan — we're all still waiting on the manuscript for that one — and continued over burbling pots of spoon lamb, stuffed cabbage, and lots of Marcella Hazan pastas.

Perhaps as an overcompensation, I learned to love both families of potatoes — like, really love both, a lot.

There's so much to savor, no matter what type you're working with. Like how the flavor of the flesh mellows after a long visit to a blistering oven, becoming a perfect canvas for complementary pops of salt, fat, and acid. And how oiling and salting the papery skin allows it to crisp up, like a chip. How the sweet ones, whether orange-fleshed, purple-fleshed (Stokes), or white-fleshed (Murasaki, aka Japanese sweet potatoes — my favorite), develop a nuanced, caramelized quality as they bake. And how, with some butter and salt, the savory ones are as familiar and comforting as your favorite quilt.

It's no surprise, then, that I regularly turn to potatoes to star as my dinner entrée.

That's correct — baked potatoes so satisfying, you can serve them as your main course. In this version, garlicky Greek yogurt brings lots of tang, scallions deliver a pop of freshness, and mushroom bacon shows up with so much sassy, smoky crispness, you'll want to make a second batch right away. You can use this same recipe formula for starchy, savory potatoes, or for sweet ones, to remind yourself how delicious that salty-sweet thing can be.

Or if you're anything like my parents — and don't want to make up your mind — you can use one of each.

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Fully Loaded Baked Potatoes With Mushroom "Bacon" & Garlicky Greek Yogurt
Makes: 4 potato halves
Ingredients

2 medium-sized Russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried but unpeeled or Murasaki (Japanese) sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon avocado oil (or any high–heat friendly neutral oil), plus 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (I like full-fat)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons microplaned (or finely grated) garlic
1 cup finely chopped scallion (green and light green parts only), divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus 3 tablespoons
2 1/2 cups sliced Portobello mushrooms, in 2-inch pieces roughly 1/8-inch thick
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

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Ella Quittner

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