I made these bite size crispy potato skins in honor of my husband, who is a HUGE Denver Broncos fan, and comes from a big east coast Italian family. These little potato skins are great because you can pop them in your mouth in one bite. They can easily be made with thick cut bacon instead of smoked pancetta if it’s something you can’t easily find. In San Francisco, I get my smoked pancetta at Lucca Deli on Chestnut Street and it’s imported from Italy, but American smoked pancetta can easily be purchased online. My two favorite American brands are Northern Waters Smokehaus and La Quercia. I buy my truffle caviar at Far West Fungi at the Ferry Building, but you can also order them on Amazon. Both products are linked to online shopping in the recipe. You can also substitute truffle oil or truffle salt for the pearls and your potato skins will have a similar flavor. Now, let’s go Broncos!
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1½ hours
Makes about 35 bite size pieces
1½ lbs little Yukon Gold, honey gold potatoes, or yellow skinned new potatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 small jar truffle caviar, or good quality truffle salt or truffle oil
Baby basil leaves or micro greens
1 lb smoked pancetta or thick cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup whole milk
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz whole milk ricotta
1 cup shredded young or semi-soft Gouda
½ cup shredded Italian cheese blend – I used a blend with Asiago, Parmesan, Provolone and Fontina
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425° F with convection.
Scatter the potatoes on a lined baking sheet. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway through for even browning. When the potatoes are just cooked through, a knife should easily slide in and out of the center. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the potatoes cool until they’re easy to handle. Cut each potato in half and, using a melon baller or measuring teaspoon, scoop the centers out, leaving a ¼-inch thin ring of potato in each shell. Reserve the potato insides for another use (they make great mashed or fried potatoes).
Place the potato skins back on the baking sheet, cut side down and roast for another 6 to 8 minutes – this will make the ring of each potato skin crispy.
While the potatoes are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the pancetta or bacon until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Turn the heat to medium and add the onions. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring, until flour has coated onions and is lightly golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the white wine, whisking as you pour to avoid lumps. Cook mixture until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk, and then cream cheese and ricotta, whisking until smooth after each addition. Turn the heat to low and fold in the shredded cheese, salt and pepper, stirring until melted.
When the potato skins are ready, scoop a spoonful of the fonduta into each skin. Bake the potato skins in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with the crispy pancetta, a small spoonful of truffle caviar and a few tiny basil leaves or ribboned basil leaves.