Pesto. Goats cheese. Slow roasted cherry tomatoes. All piled onto crispy potato skins and baked until bubbly. Easy. Impressive. Delicious.
Time is ticking. It's over half way through November already. Time is moving way to quick. It's nearly time for lots of festive gatherings - in between all the shopping, decorating, Nativity plays, card writing and the endless wrapping of gifts.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love all that (well, apart from the card writing, if I'm being honest). The run up to Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year - good excuse to bake if you ask me - but time is notoriously short in December and sometimes you need a quick fix to hand out to friends that's going to impress whilst they sip their drinks. This is it. This is the wow dish you need to serve. Loaded Potato Skins with Pesto & Goats Cheese. The oven does all the hard work and you get to sit back and share something bright and big on flavour with your friends.
And the magic flavours?
- Goats cheese
- Slow roasted cherry tomatoes
All piled onto crispy potato skins and baked until bubbly. Easy. I can't believe I've never thought of putting my favourite pasta combination onto potato skins before. You don't even have to make your own pesto. It's December, the list of things to do probably does not include making pesto for most normal people. Of course, if you are off on a fancy holiday over the festive period and do not have a zillion other things to prepare, then knock yourself out on the homemade pesto front, it can only make these Loaded Poato Skins with Pesto & Goats Cheese even more scrummy than they already are.
I have this rule that I won't do anything too Christmassy before the 1st December each year, aside from making the Christmas pudding and the odd bit of shopping (and writing a blog post that mentions Christmas a few too many times... um... sorry). Mad, I know, because when December comes, it's busy all the way, but a rule is a rule: no wrapping, no card writing (grrr), no Christmas songs and no mince pie baking (or scoffing) until it's December. However, come the 1st of the month, I intend to cook myself a stash of these, pour a glass of wine and write those pesky cards.
Loaded Potato Skins with Pesto & Goats Cheese
- 4 Medium-large baking potatoes
- 24 Cherry tomatoes - halved
- 2-3 tbsp Pesto - your favourite bought one or homemade
- 125 g/ 4oz Goats cheese log - chopped into smallish chunks
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Basil – optional (for garnishing)
- Start by tossing the tomato halves in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet, cut side up and roast in a cool oven ((150°C/ 300°F/ GM 2) for 1 hour. Leave to cool
- Prepare the potatoes – prick them a few times with a sharp knife and bake in a moderate oven (180°C/ 350°F/ GM 4) for 1hr 45minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes (but leave the oven on)
- Next, quarter each potato and scoop out most of the flesh, leaving a bit behind to allow the potato skin to hold its shape. (Use the flesh for mash or to top a pie)
- Brush each quarter of potato skin lightly on both sides with oil, season with salt and pepper and put back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up
- Top each skin with a generous scoop of pesto, spreading it out as you go. Place 3 halves of tomato on each skin, followed by chunks of the goats cheese. Dollop any remaining pesto over the top
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble
- Scatter with the fresh basil leaves and serve immediately