Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shallot and Pecorino Romano Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice-baked potatoes are one of my son's favorite foods, and a couple of weeks ago he requested them for Sunday dinner.  He asked so nicely that I couldn't refuse, but I didn't have any of the ingredients that I usually put in them.  That's when I started to peruse my refrigerator for inspiration.  Luckily, I spotted shallots and the recipe started to build itself from there.  I was only hoping that my son would like these as well as my normal potatoes.  Thank goodness I didn't have anything to worry about!  He gobbled them up, and promptly told me that he liked this kind of twice-baked potatoe even better.  Whew!

Here's your Cast of Characters.

4 - 6 Medium potatoes, baked right before starting this recipe (I particularly like Yukon Golds)
1 Medium shallot
3 Garlic cloves
2 Cups Pecorino Romano, shredded and divided
1 Tsp. peppercorns
1/4 Tsp. fennel seed (optional)
1 Tsp., each, Lawry's seasoning salt and McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning blend
1/2 Cup fat-free half & half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cake pan with foil.  Finely dice the shallot and garlic.

Saute, with a drizzle of olive oil, until garlic is golden brown, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Crush peppercorns roughly, then add in fennel seed, crushing a little more.  You don't want these to be too fine, though.

By now, potatoes should have cooled a little.  Use a sharp knife to slice potatoes lengthwise, leaving them attached at the bottom.

Use a large spoon to carefully spoon out the flesh of the potato, leaving a thin layer so the skin doesn't tear.

Place the potato skins in the cake pan.

Mash the flesh with the shallots, garlic, 1 1/2 cups cheese, seasonings and half & half.

Spoon the filling back into the shells, filling very full.

Divide the remaining cheese among the potatoes, placing it carefully on top.

Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes to 1 hour, until heated through and starting to brown.