Who knew that the humble new potato could be turned into shell casing for a bullet of flavor? In this powder keg, the surly nature of the cheddar cheese roughhouses the creamy new potatoes, not to mention some butter and sour cream. These little bombs of sharp versus subtle are a perfect snack or party treat. Bacon shrapnel provides some flavor backbone but minimal textural resistance, so I like to top mine with more cheese, some potato chips and fresh chives.
Chef's Tips: You can keep the hulled potato shells and potato mixture, covered and refrigerated, for up to 6 hours. A touch of balsamic vinegar will add a fruity and zippy note. It may seem weird on paper, but salt and vinegar chips are the best chips.
Make the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the potatoes on a sheet pan and roast dry until easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly until easy to handle.
Cut each potato in half. Trim a slice from the bottom of each half so the halves can stand up on their own. Chop the scraps and place in a medium bowl.
Working over the same medium bowl, use a 1⁄2 teaspoon to scoop out most of the inside of each potato half and place the insides in the bowl of scraps. Place the shells, cup side up, back on the sheet pan. Finely chop the bacon and add it to the bowl of potato scraps. Mix in the cheese, butter, and sour cream until combined.
Fill the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the potato mixture in a pastry bag with a large tip or zip-top bag with the corner cut off, and fill each potato shell on the sheet pan, like a little deviled egg. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. If desired, top with more cheese, and bake 5 minutes more, until melted.
If you like, stick a potato chip in each one and top with chives.
Reprinted with permission from The Laws of Cooking...and How to Break Them by Justin Warner, Flatiron Books