The other night I was discussing reality television with a friend of mine.
We both agreed that reality TV was somehow interesting at first, but the fact that it's gotten so over-abused proves that its 15 minutes have largely passed.
Nowadays, every channel has a reality show about pretty much everything: drive a truck on ice -> get a show; have a bunch of kids -> get a show; have an embarrassing complaint/lump -> get a show; make your daughter a star -> get a show; be a complete idiot -> get a show.
It’s not even interesting anymore.
Even cooking shows are getting boring and old to watch.
There are too many of them: Top Chef, Master Chef, Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, The Taste, The Kitchen, The Next Food Network Star, the list goes on forever.
Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly appreciate the creative input. You learn a lot about creativity, creative thinking, and creative process in these shows.
I also understand that the audience is hungry for good story, and that’s what the producers are going to fed them.
But what really bothers me in these reality show is the overly dramatic back stories that fill them.
I resent the idea that in order to succeed in a cooking competition there must have been some sort of tragedy in the contestants’ lives at some point. Even if there has been, I don’t want to know about it; all I’m interested in is how good they are at cooking.
I honestly don’t see the link between being talented in the kitchen and the fact that the contestant comes from a poor upbringing, has overcome a disease in the past, or has lost a loved one.
Not to mention, that most of the time these backstories seem (and probably are) fabricated.
You often read how people lives are often manipulated into mass-marketed entertainment in these shows.
At times it feels that their only purpose is to reduce contestants to either good or bad characters. The emphasis is often more on the emotional explosion than the cooking itself.
Not to mention the part where contestants are humiliated in front of the cameras, really makes me cringe.
I don’t find particular pleasure in watching people being degraded.
It seems as reality TV is the networks way to avoid quality programming while still making a profit.
I’d rather watch a well edited and high quality show - such as No Reservations - than kitchen utensils, pots, pans, and plates thrown like a frisbee.
Still, it’s on one of these shows that I got the inspiration for this recipe (and btw I’m not going to mention which show!) During an episode a contestant made a mouthwatering grilled cheese with sauteed mushrooms, kale and cheese.
It looked so good, I was like “I should make this asap!”
Then it dawned on me, instead of grilled cheese, why not using potato skins?
What a brilliant idea that has been!
These potato skins really hit the spot and I didn't regret even one delicious bite.
Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, toasty on top, and a little decadent. Green enough that you won’t feel the need to make a salad on the side.
I do hope you make ‘em because I can’t tell you enough how delicious these are.
As always you can take liberties here: using another green of your choice (or basil pesto for that matter); you could use Parmesan, cream cheese or goat cheese instead of the Gouda I used.
I guarantee you, these potato skins will become one of your weeknight favorites.
Serves 6 as a side (or 3 as a hearty main)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
8 ounces white button (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
¼ cup white wine or broth
salt and pepper to taste
6 red Idaho potatoes or 3 Russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup sour cream
½ cup coarsely grated gouda (or cheddar, gruyere, or comté)
1 bunch of kale (roughly ½ lb / 226 gr), de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
⅓ cup walnuts
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup cooking water, plus more if needed
In a skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter together with the oil. Add onion and saute’ until translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme and saute’ until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the sliced cremini mushrooms and saute’ until they turn golden brown and begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
Add the wine (or broth), deglaze the pan and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and remove from heat. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Gently scrub potatoes but do not peel. Pierce a few times with a fork.
Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using Russet potatoes).
When they're cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes in half, scoop out most of the flesh but leave a little bit attached to the skin to help them hold their shape (leave about ¼-inch of skin and potato.)
Melt the butter and combine with olive oil. Brush the insides and outsides of the skins and bake for another 5-10 minutes, skin side up, until nice and crispy.
Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a roiling boil. Add garlic and kale (making sure to submerge it in the water) and blanch for 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon fish the kale and the garlic out of the water and transfer to a colander. Allow to cool slightly and using the back of a spoon (or your hands if you dare) squeeze out some of the water.
In a food processor add walnuts; pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the blanched kale, garlic and lemon juice. Pulse until the kale is broken up and nearly smooth. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides. Throw-in Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese and red pepper flakes (if using). Pulse again and while the food processor is running slowly add the water until the pesto reaches a creamy consistency.
Transfer kale pesto to a bowl and using a spoon stir in the olive oil until it’s completely absorbed.
If the kale pesto looks too thick, add more water (not oil), one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
Assemble potato skins
In a large bowl mash up the potato flesh until it becomes one cohesive mass. Add the sour cream, ¼ cup of the gouda cheese, the kale pesto (I used about 4 tablespoons), and season with salt and pepper.
Heap filling in the prepared potato skin, top with mushrooms and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup gouda cheese.
Pop in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes to finish.
One serving yields 317 calories, 19 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of protein.