One of the things I really love on occasion is a twice baked potato. Since we are splurging and going off budget with some grilled porterhouse steaks, I wanted to exemplify a steak house dinner right here at home. In some of the best steak restaurants in the country they have a side offering of a potato gratin like Craft Restaurants owned by Tom Colicchio.
Combining the idea of a gratin with cheese into a stuffed potato skin seemed to make perfect sense. Adding in some butter, half and half and some caramelized onion which goes wonderfully with steak, lots of cracked pepper and salt, a bit of sour cream and chives the flavors will meld into one tasty and exquisite bite.
Joining the cast of the stuffed potato and grilled steak was a ratatouille. We have just about all of the vegetables needed for that, so a purchase of a small eggplant keeps this dinner cost down considering the splurge on the protein.
For us it was a splurge splurged even though I purchased the steaks on sale. The cheese did not break the bank and my original intention for it was to make a potato gratin. Fontina is a mild, buttery and earthy type of cheese that originated in Italy in 1477. It is a semi-soft slightly creamy cheese that melts well and is used widely in cooking and has a place on cheese platters as well.
After making these stuffed potatoes I would use it again. It's so mild it does not take over the flavor of the potato. Should you want a more cheesy flavor I suggest using a sharp cheddar. Taking lead from when my husband makes them I lopped off the tops. However in doing so, I ended up with enough filling for at least 3 good sized portions and probably could have done four adequate portions if I had cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.
***Lesson: don't do what someone else does. Follow your own instincts.***
- 2 large baking potatoes (I use Russet)
- 6 tbsp. butter (2 for caramelizing and 4 for the potatoes)
- 1 medium onion - small dice
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3-4 tbsp. half and half
- 1 tbsp. freeze dried chives (fresh if you have them)
- 1/2 cup Fontina cheese - grated, plus more for on top
- salt and black pepper to taste
- In a frying pan over medium heat melt 2 tbsp. butter. Add in the onions, stir to coat and let the onions caramelize over medium low heat. Stir occasionally. You can add a teaspoon of sugar if you have sharp onions to add a little more sweetness and it helps in the caramelization process.
- Bake your potatoes in a 400° oven for 1 1/4 hours until a fork is easily inserted. Remember to make a slit in the potato prior to baking. You don't want the potato to explode!
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice in half length wise and scoop out the potato leaving a little bit on all sides of the potato and put the mixture in a bowl.
- Begin to mash the potatoes and add in some softened butter and keep mashing.
- Add in the half and half (or milk) 2 tablespoons at first. Then the sour cream. Mix and add more half and half to make the mixture creamier.
- Last, add in the chives, 1/2 cup of the grated cheese and salt and black pepper to taste.
- Fill each skin and top with some more grated cheese.
- Bake at 350° until the cheese melts to your liking.
- Increase the recipe as necessary to make more.