Crispy Potato Skins with Bacon, Ramps & Goat Cheese

I was at a food blogger event recently, during which we were asked to go around the room and share our current favorite ingredient.

I said chorizo because I am now (and have always been) obsessed with it. I cook with it weekly, and if I'm in a restaurant and there is chorizo on the menu in some form, I will absolutely be ordering it.

But the majority of the other bloggers went a more seasonal way, naming bright spring greens from the farmer's market. The number one most-named ingredient?

Ramps.

Ramps Photo Credit: BonAppetit.com
Ramps are not available everywhere. In fact, they're pretty difficult to find, as they grow in cool weather climates, where they're foraged, not cultivated, and generally only found in farmer's markets and CSA boxes.

And the thing is that people go crazy about them, but I've never really understood why. I still don't understand why. They're good, yes, but they're no chorizo...

So while I happily can go through life without ramps, I occasionally get this tinge that I must be missing out on something, so I buy a bunch.

And again I think that yeah, they're good, but hardly life-changing.

I suppose talking down an ingredient is a weird way to begin a recipe, but the point is really that there is no need to stick to ramps when making these. Scallions or leeks would work just as well.

You can even just dice up and caramelize some regular onions. You just want to make sure you get something a little onion-y in there.

Paired with the smokey bacon and tangy goat cheese, and tucked into that salty crispy potato skin--it's pure perfection.

Most people usually think of potato skins as bar food. Something to share with friends while watching "the game," but I think they're also just a wonderful party appetizer. The perfect crispy blank canvas to top off with your favorite flavors.

Play around with different kinds of sauteed veggies and meats--I bet broccoli rabe and sausage would be wonderful! Or smoked salmon with creme fraiche and chives.

This version, by the way, works particularly well with a glass of something sparkly on a hot summer night.

We actually slipped a few anchovies on top of ours for a little extra salty brine.

Perfection!

Crispy Potato Skins with Bacon, Ramps & Goat Cheese Recipe
Yields 20

Ingredients
10 small Idaho potatoes, washed, scrubbed and patted dry
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 bunch ramps, washed and trimmed then diced into 1/4" pieces (root + shoots)
4oz goat cheese, crumbled

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Poke potatoes all over with a fork, then arrange on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender.

Let potatoes cool slightly, then slice in half and scoop out inside of each potato (reserve scooped potato for other dishes).

Brush inside and outside of potatoes with olive oil, then season generously and arrange scooped-side down on baking sheet. Raise oven heat to 425 degrees, and return to oven for 10 - 15 minutes, or until skins are very crisp.

While potatoes bake, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the diced bacon until most of the fat is rendered. Remove bacon from pan and set aside, leaving the bacon fat. Add the diced ramps and saute 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.

Turn the crisped potato skins over and fill with cooked bacon and ramps. Top each with crumbled goat cheese. Place under broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the bacon is very crisp.

Serve immediately.



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