May 27, 2009

Pesto Baked Potatoes

 

It’s a public secret I like to use a lot of fresh herbs when I’m cooking. It’s just so easy to spike up your everyday cooking with some fresh herbs—especially when you grow them yourself. I’m always trying new and different combinations. That’s how I found out what an absolutely fantastic herb basil is. And not just in pasta sauces or salads. Basil and potatoes, for instance, go really well together. The peppery basil flavor and the more laid back flavor of baked potatoes are a fantastic combination.

 

Ingredients:

3 potatoes (8 oz each)
1 large shallot
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup cream (I’ve used low fat)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
fresh basil
pine nuts
pepper
salt
oil

 

Directions:

I’m using 1 large potato per person. Mine were about 8oz each. Russet potatoes would be a really good choice for this.

 

Give them a really, really good scrub. Pinch them a few times with a fork. Just dig your fork in there, about 6 to 7 times will do. Then pat them dry.

 

Lightly brush the potatoes with olive oil.

 

And sprinkle a generous amount of salt on top. I always use sea-salt, but lots of people prefer kosher salt. Whatever makes you happy.

 

I’ve put some baking paper on a baking sheet and placed the potatoes on top with the oiled side down. Repeat the oiling/seasoning process on the other side of the potatoes. Sure, you can oil and season both sides at once, but this looked so much better in my photos!  It’s all about the photos here, sorry.

Bake them at 400F (200C) for about an hour.

 

After I sat down, drank coffee and read sleazy tabloids for about half an hour, it was time to get back to work. The life of a food blogger sure ain’t easy!

Chop a fairly large shallot or half a small onion.

 

And grate or mince 2 medium sized garlic cloves.

 

Heat a teeny-tiny drop of oil and sautee the shallots, over low heat, for about 3 minutes. Add the grated garlic and cook everything for an additional 2 minutes.

 

Pour in half a cup of cream—I’ve used a low fat version—and 1/3 cup of vegetable broth. Chicken broth will be fine as well.

 

Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer, over low heat, for about 10 minutes. Until it has cooked down a fair bit.

 

In the mean time you can wash and finely chop a good handful of basil. I’ve also cut a lemon in half.

 

Keep an eye on the sauce and stir occasionally.

 

After 10 minutes you turn off the heat. Season the sauce with a really good pinch of pepper and salt. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to taste and stir in the basil. Set the sauce aside.

 

Time to check on the potatoes. If you do this often enough you’ll be able to tell, by just looking at them or pressing them, whether they’re done or not. If you want to be really sure, use a (meat) thermometer; as soon as the core temperature of the potatoes reaches about 210F (100C) you can declare them done.

Tip: don’t wrap them in foil. This won’t bake them, this will steam them. You only get a really nice crunchy skin when you bake them uncovered.

 

Cut the potatoes in half (lengthwise) while they’re still hot. I have reasonably fireproof hands, but you can use tongs to hold down the potatoes as well.

 

Scoop the innards out. I like saying innards, not sure why, but it sure sounds better than guts. Unfortunately I also like to say guts. How I love the English language.

 

Make sure you leave a thin potato layer in the shell.

 

Add the sauce—which will have cooled off and thickened by now—to the potatoes. Lightly mash it with a fork and check the seasoning. Also stir in a really good handful of pine nuts; this will do amazing things to the flavor and it creates a great difference in texture.

 

Fill the potato shells and sprinkle some Parmesan on each potato. Put them back in a really hot oven for about 10 minutes, and serve them straight from the oven.

 

These are good. These are crazy good. I served with them a nice grilled pepper steak and a salad on the side but really, they pair with just about anything you can think of. And then some.


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    52 Comments »

    1. 1

      hi! I’m a cooking beginer, and like your recipe very much!
      I’m wondering that the “cream” you used here, is it sour cream? or it’s a half and half cream or whipping cream?

      Shin on May 27, 2009 @ 8:50 am Reply
    2. 2

      @Shin:

      You can pretty much use any type of cream you like, though I haven’t tried it with sour cream yet. I’ve used a cream that’s more like half and half.

      Kay on May 27, 2009 @ 8:52 am Reply
    3. 3

      Kay! This looks just fantastic. I really have to try this. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

      Regards from Sweden,
      Nadja

      In Nadjas kitchen on May 27, 2009 @ 9:45 am Reply
    4. 4

      @In Nadjas kitchen:

      Trust me when I say they taste even better than they look! I absolutely love these potatoes.

      Kay on May 27, 2009 @ 11:00 am Reply
    5. 5

      …Hi Kay!*waving*… I’m a first time commenter but been followin’ you around for awhile now and I have to say that these potatoes look amazing! I am def’ gonna give these a try this week… Thanks for sharing!

      …Blessings… :o)

      tj on May 27, 2009 @ 1:12 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Did you use koffiemelk?

      katie in Leiden on May 27, 2009 @ 1:51 pm Reply
    7. 7

      @katie in Leiden:

      Ewww yuck, no. They have a reduced fat cream version here in the store. (soort van light slagroom, zeg maar).

      Kay on May 27, 2009 @ 1:57 pm Reply
    8. 8

      Oh, that sounds so awesome! I love pesto and crunchy skinned potatoes.

      Erica from Cooking for Seven on May 27, 2009 @ 3:13 pm Reply
    9. 9

      mmmmmmmmmmmmmm they look good!

      suzanne h crisafi on May 27, 2009 @ 4:04 pm Reply
    10. 10

      These look so creamy and delicious! A great way to use fresh herbs.

      zoe on May 27, 2009 @ 5:09 pm Reply
    11. 11

      @Erica from Cooking for Seven:

      You’re really gonne love these!

      Kay on May 27, 2009 @ 5:22 pm Reply
    12. 12

      I have a feeling I’ll be trying this soon!

      Ayoub on May 27, 2009 @ 5:36 pm Reply
    13. 13

      Nom nom nom! These look wonderful! I think I’ll try them for lunch today. :)

      Jessica the hedgehog on May 27, 2009 @ 6:22 pm Reply
    14. 14

      WOW that looks incredible – Stuffed spuds – nothing better!!

      Cathy on May 27, 2009 @ 7:43 pm Reply
    15. 15

      YOu are right about fresh herbs – there’s nothing like them! some other great combos are rosemary with orange and balsamic (on fish or chicken), basil on corn (either creamed or in a compound butter), tarragon on salmon, and mint with peas. I could go on and on…or visit my blog and click on herbs for more ideas.

      Michele Morris on May 27, 2009 @ 9:31 pm Reply
    16. 16

      Oh, my! These look so yummy! I’m definitely adding them to my to-try list.

      Love your blog! I check it every day to see what new, tempting recipe you have for your readers. You’re amazing.

      Lana on May 27, 2009 @ 9:48 pm Reply
    17. 17

      These look really good, as usual. I love using fresh herbs too, but I need to get some planters and make myself an herb garden or something. If I made these for my mom I’d have to use oregano or something since she claims to hate basil. Or maybe I should be really evil and make it with basil and then tell her afterwards what was really in them. My mom used to make something similar to this, but she scooped the potato meat out and just mixed in some sour cream with chives and then topped it with cheddar cheese. Oh and the skins were never crispy since my mother always “baked” potatoes in the microwave. Maybe that is why I like the potatoes at Wendy’s so much now, since the skins are kindof crispy.

      Aaron B from IL (USA) on May 28, 2009 @ 8:10 am Reply
    18. 18

      I sure could go for a pesto potato!!! Looks delish.

      I was just talking to an 84 year old lady that moved to the States in her 20′s from Holland. She was bragging about the potatoes there. She says our potatoes are nothing compared to “good old Dutch potatoes”. She was an adorable lady with a very thick Dutch accent.

      I thought of you as she was talking. I was going to check over the blog and see if you had lots of potato recipes to back her up!!!

      Kath on May 28, 2009 @ 3:14 pm Reply
    19. 19

      I came to this recipe from reddit and I just wanted to let you know that they look delicious and I can’t wait to try them. My girlfriend and I just started living on our own and cooking all of our own meals so we’re always on the look out for new recipes. Great photos, too. Thanks so much!

      Alex on May 28, 2009 @ 9:51 pm Reply
    20. 20

      @Kath:

      She’s right! When it comes to meat—and especially beef products—you guys kick our butts. But when it comes to potatoes and vegetables, we Dutchies definitely win.

      Funny she still had a Dutch accent. Nowadays Dutch kids get English class as early as kindergarten and speak English with very little accent. I have virtually no accent anymore. My son is just 3 and already speaks quite a few English words, knows Englishg songs, counts to 10 in English and knows all the colors in English.

      Kay on May 28, 2009 @ 11:33 pm Reply
    21. 21

      you’re definitely right about having better veggies. We don’t have any farmers markets where I live, and since we mostly only shop at walmart (ugh) we only get crap veggies, and I won’t even touch walmarts meat with a 20 foot pole.

      Joy on May 29, 2009 @ 1:27 am Reply
    22. 22

      GREAT … now you have me craving potatoes … SO NOT NICE!!

      :: figures out a way to work them in this week ::

      :: runs to the store ::

      kristy on May 29, 2009 @ 2:00 am Reply
    23. 23

      Is it possible to split this up and do it over 2 days (i.e. if have friends coming over after work and need dinner ready quickly), and if so….where would you suggest the split? Bake the potatoes one night, the next night, rebake them?

      Thanks in advance. :)

      Btw, keep it up. :) I enjoy reading your site (when time allows). :)

      Magda on May 29, 2009 @ 9:41 pm Reply
    24. 24

      @Magda:

      I honestly wouldn’t know. After you bake them, you only have to pop them in the oven for another 10 minutes before they’re done. I don’t think that would be enough time for the skin to get crispy again. And I’m sure it loses its crispiness overnight.

      Kay on May 29, 2009 @ 9:51 pm Reply
    25. 25

      Goodness gracious, these were beautiful! I added some parsley to the “innards” and also some parmesan, and then I threw together a quick tomato-sauce (just sauteed onions and garlic, some sugar, herbs, and a can of crushed tomatoes) and cooked some eggs right in the sauce to go along the potatoes. absolutely divine!

      Lily on May 30, 2009 @ 3:56 pm Reply

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