Jalapeno Popper Potato Skins. (Nick Evans / August 28, 2014)


I don't know about you, but for my money, it's hard to beat potato skins and jalapeno poppers when it comes to appetizers. So smashing them together in a one layered, bite-sized appetizer just seems to make sense to me.

The starch from the potato and whipped, slightly sweet cream cheese calms most (most) of the heat from the roasted jalapeno peppers. Eat just one and the only thing you'll be wondering is why you only made one batch.

Baking potatoes isn't hard, but because it can take a while, you'll definitely want to plan ahead or use leftover potatoes for this. Once you have the potatoes baked, cut each one into quarters and scoop out most of the potato flesh. You want to leave some so the skins have some thickness to them.

Before you bake the skins a second time to crisp them up, do something pretty genius: brush them with a thin layer of bacon grease. (You can also use olive oil.)

The jalapeno can be roasted in a 450 F oven until blistered, or you can grill them over high heat -- whatever is easier for you.

When they are blistered on all sides, let them cool, cut them in half and scoop out the seeds. I prefer to leave the skin on my peppers, but you can peel them if you want.

Once the potato skins are baked and crispy around the edges, top each one with a baked pepper half and add a dollop of the whipped cream cheese mixture. Top with crumbled bacon for some crunch and saltiness.

Each one of these ends up being a pretty nicely sized appetizer, and eating more than two before dinner might be a stretch. I'm not saying you shouldn't try, though.

Jalapeno Popper Potato Skins

Serves 4.

2 large russet potatoes, baked

Bacon grease

4 large jalapenos

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 ounces cream cheese

1 tablespoon honey

4 pieces cooked thick bacon, crumbled