From Cook’s Country April/May 2008
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
This stunning potato dish delivers a fluffy interior, a crisp exterior, and a cheesy bread crumb topping—if you can get the potatoes cooked right. For our Crispy Baked Potato Fans recipe, we found that using the right kind of potato is key. The russet, or Idaho, potato was the best choice because of its starchy flesh and fluffy texture. Taking the time to rinse the potatoes of surface starch after they were sliced prevented them from sticking together, while trimming off the end of each potato gave the remaining slices room to fan out. To prevent overcooking our spuds in the punishing oven heat, we precooked them in the microwave before baking. A topping of fresh bread crumbs, melted butter, two kinds of cheese, garlic powder, and paprika is the crowning touch on our Crispy Baked Potato Fans. As a final step in our Crispy Baked Potato Fans recipe, we broiled the potatoes to make the topping extra-crunchy.
To ensure that the potatoes fan out evenly, look for uniformly shaped potatoes.
INGREDIENTSBread Crumb Topping
- 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- For the bread crumb topping: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground. Bake bread crumbs on rimmed baking sheet until dry, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then combine crumbs, butter, cheeses, paprika, garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. (Bread crumb topping can be refrigerated in zipper-lock bag for 2 days.)
- For the potato fans: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Following photos 1 to 3 at left, cut 1/4 inch from bottom and ends of potatoes, then slice potatoes crosswise at 1/4-inch intervals, leaving 1/4 inch of potato intact. Gently rinse potatoes under running water, let drain, and transfer, sliced-side down, to plate. Microwave until slightly soft to the touch, 6 to 12 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through cooking.
- Arrange potatoes, sliced-side up, on foil-lined baking sheet. Brush potatoes all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until skin is crisp and potatoes are beginning to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and heat broiler.
- Carefully top potatoes with stuffing mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Broil until bread crumbs are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve.
PREPPING BAKED POTATO FANS
2. Chopsticks provide a foolproof guide for slicing the potato petals without cutting all the way through the potato.
3. Gently flex fans open while rinsing under cold running water; this rids the potatoes of excess starch that can impede fanning.