Straight to the Top

January 29, 2009


I am not privy to the produce world’s inner pecking order.  But if I were, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that potatoes were the plain Janes of the lot.  While gourds sashay around in their vibrant colors (think butternut) and artichokes wow with their spicy, layer-y outfits and chard and kale splay out into bouquet-ish bundles, potatoes—with their mottled brown jackets—fade into the background.  Some potato varieties—the jewel-toned purple ones or the luxe yukon golds—might get a second look, but the good old russets, I’m guessing, are the last to get picked for a schoolyard pick-up game.



This recipe aims to shake up that vegetable social hierarchy.  This recipe will send the baking potato straight to the top.  Like the ugly duckling morphing into the swan, if you will.  Because this recipe is undeniably luxurious and incredibly delicious.


It’s also just the thing for the indecisive cook who’s got a few spuds on her hands.  Can’t decide whether to bake or mash your potatoes?  Do both!  That’s essentially what this recipe instructs you to do.


First, you oil up a few potatoes and let them bake, long and slow in a hot oven.  Once they’re tender (don’t skimp on this step or you’ll regret it later), you remove them from the oven, slice off the very top lengthwise and carve out the fluffy insides (a melon-baller works well, though a regular spoon will do), leaving a canoe-like shell.  Set the potato-canoes aside.


To the fluffy insides, add some tangy, creamy goat cheese, a pat of butter, a splash of half-and-half and a shower of chopped chives.  Make like Thanksgiving and mash up the mixture, until it’s creamy and smooth.  Heap the gussied-up mixture back into the potato-canoes.  If you’re feeling extra fancy (I was not), you can pipe the mixture in using a pastry bag and decorative tip.


Bake the filled potatoes again in the still-warm oven, until the tops begins to brown.  For a final kiss of heat, run them under the broiler.  This will not only render the potato a lovely shade of golden, it will also produce a variety of textures: the delicate papery skins; the meaty baked shell; the lush, creamy filling; and the almost-crusty top, which tastes a lot like the best bits atop a shepherd’s pie.  They will definitely turn heads.


Twice-Baked Potatoes
Bon Appetit

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
8 6-ounce russet potatoes, scrubbed
5 1/2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), crumbled
3/4 cup half and half or milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 375°F. Rub oil over potatoes. Pierce in several spots with fork. Place directly on oven rack; bake until very tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, grasp 1 potato in hand. Using serrated knife, cut off top 1/4 of potato. Using spoon, scoop out potato, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shell; transfer potato flesh to large bowl. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Mash potatoes until smooth. Mix in cheese, then half and half, butter, and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon about 3/4 of potato mixture into shells, dividing evenly. Transfer remaining potato filling to pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe filling atop potatoes. Place potatoes on baking sheet. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake potatoes until filling is heated through and tops brown, about 20 minutes.*

* I also ran the potatoes quickly under the broiler before serving.

19 Responses to “Straight to the Top”

  1. Loving this twice baked potato. Anything with goat cheese is a winner in my book!

  2. ca Says:

    wow!! that was an insanely well written post. i love the way you described the different veggies at the beginning.

  3. sue bette Says:

    great reminder on the wonders of the twice baked – I actually prefer them to the mash because the crispy potato skins are my favorite part. they look lovely, thanks for sharing!!

  4. kate Says:

    Oh my I just love Twice Baked Potatoes!

    Another delightful thing to do with the potato mixture is to pipe it into nice swirly rounds and bake them just plain, outside the shells (which you then cover with a little butter and plenty of sea salt to eat blissfully by themselves) and you get these tiny mounds of soft potato with a nice crunchy exterior. I seem to think they are called Potato Dauphine.

    I just call them delicious.

  5. LilSis Says:

    I’ll have to try the Twice Baked Potatoes with the goat cheese! I’ve only made with cheddar, sour cream, bacon, and chives. These look marvelous!

  6. Kylee Says:

    You have WAY more patience than me! I microwave mine for a bit, then split them, scoop them, mix and mash then put back in – then throw them in a REALLY hot oven.

    Saves a pile of time.

    Although I can totally see how baked would be good (if you have the time)

  7. Dawn in CA Says:

    I love baking my potatoes after giving them a good rub-down with olive oil and a little kosher salt. Taking it to the next level, as you’ve done here, is genius! I know twice-baked potatoes are nothing new, but to me, the simplest recipes like this one are usually some of the best. Mmmmm… I can almost smell them now. As always, thanks for the great writing and the beautiful photos. Have a fun weekend!

  8. Dawn in CA Says:

    p.s. – I’m probably a bit on the slow side these last few weeks, but… what happened to your banner photo? Are you getting ready to try on a new look? 🙂

  9. duodishes Says:

    The 2x baked with goat cheese is different for us. But really…is any potato with cheese and herbs bad?


  10. Potatoes and goat cheese? Count me in!

  11. kickpleat Says:

    I’ve never had twice baked potatoes before! They look really, really decadent.

  12. JEP Says:

    MMmm…I like the idea that I can save a couple for their final baking the next day. I can eat a couple of these & call it a meal..yum! btw, made my all time favorite recipe of yours this week…Granola Bars. Love that recipe & make them instead of buying the Kashi Chewy Trail Mix bars..thanks for sharing.

  13. Mimi Says:

    You sure have an enviable way with words.

    Good lookin’ recipe too.

  14. ovenhaven Says:

    This post is absolutely hilarious, and all I can say is Hooray to potatoes! I’ve always wanted to give twice-baked potatoes a try, and for the life of me, I have no idea what’s stopping me. This will be just the push I need. To put artichokes in their place. Never did quite fancy them. 😛

  15. Twiced baked potatoes are so simple but make an easy baked potato seem that much more special.

    Thanks for reminding me of this trick!

  16. Kim Says:

    I think I’ll make these tonight!

    Also, I love the menu idea. Any chance we’ll get a Valentine’s menu in the next week? BF and I take turns making decadent meals for each other on Valentine’s day. This year is my turn. Now I’m looking for inspiration. 🙂

  17. sweetandnatural: It does usually do the trick, doesn’t it?

    ca: Thank you!

    sue bette: I think it was your potato skins that got me thinking along these lines.

    kate: Ooh, I like that idea! Thanks.

    LilSis: Well that sounds like a pretty great recipe too.

    Kylee: That’s a good time-saving tip, though I do think (if you have the time) the texture is best if the potatoes are baked the good old fashioned way.

    Dawn: Thanks! And there are some changes in the works, but that’s all I’ll say about that for now!

    duodishes: I’d be hard pressed to think of one.

    chocolate shavings: Hard to resist, isn’t it?

    kickpleat: Give them a try!

    JEP: Aww thanks! So many people have problems with those bars, so I’m thrilled that you’re loving them.

    Mimi: Thank you!

    ovenhaven: Those artichokes have it coming. : )

    whitney: Agreed.

    Kim: Oh, I hope you did! And your valentine’s menu request is noted!

  18. Definitely beautiful swan with this recipe. I have always wanted to make stuffed potatoes like this.

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