I realize stuffing fingerling potatoes sounds a little … crazy. And it totally is. I admit it. But don’t freak out and leave yet! I have a solution. Just because I’m nuts doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your sanity while still enjoying the delicious benefits of this recipe.
In other words, this would work equally well for stuffing a potato the size of your closed fist. Or even those mini potatoes that are bigger than fingerlings but not quite as big as your fist – you know, the ones that would still be appetizer friendly but also wouldn’t drive you mad trying to stuff them.
The only other fussy component is the beet horseradish, but there’s a way around that too if necessary. I’ve never seen the beet version in a store in real life, although I probably wasn’t looking because I didn’t even know it existed. But it was among the several gallons of pickled items my friend May shipped me from The Pickle Guys in New York as a wedding present. Aside from being slightly sweeter than regular horseradish, the beet horseradish had an incredibly bright pink fuchsia color, which I thought would be fun to punch up this otherwise brown and white dish. If you can’t find some, substitute regular horseradish, or make your own beet concoction.
Whatever you decide, procure some bacon fat. It makes a difference. I always strain and reserve bacon or pancetta fat after crisping them up for another meal. It keeps almost forever in the freezer, but I go through it much faster than that. I melted a couple tablespoons of the stuff in the microwave to make it easier to coat the potatoes. Then I roasted them off.
Then I halved the fingerlings, scooped out the middles with a grapefruit spoon (I found it to be a bit more exact than a regular spoon), tossed the potato skins in a little more bacon fat, and baked the skins to get them a bit crispy.
While the skins crisped up in the oven, I threw together the stuffing with spicy beet horseradish, creamy ricotta, tangy Greek yogurt, and perky lemon zest. Then I mashed in the potato innards that I had scooped out from the skins.
Taste, and season. And let’s just say that I wouldn’t blame anyone for turning this into a pretty spectacular mashed potato recipe.
But I surged forth with my stuffed fingerling appetizer plan, stuffing the little suckers with the horseradish-ricotta filling and popping them back in the oven just until they were heated through.
Friends pointed out that these seemed like way too much work. Maybe they are. And when everyone bit into the crunchy, slightly bacon-flavored skins and those gave way to the spicily creamy filling, well, no one was complaining. That’s for sure. The only other certain thing is that only one, measly stuffed half was left after the appetizer and small plate-themed dinner party. Read into that what you will.
Stuffed Bacon Fat-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
As I mentioned in the post above, these would also be great – and less fussy – with bigger potatoes; however, do adjust the cooking times so the potatoes cook through and so the skins crisp up. They’d also taste pretty wonderful if converted to mashed potatoes, without any of the fuss normally involved in appetizer-sized dishes.
1 lb. (about 30) fingerling potatoes (or small new potatoes)
2 Tbsp. melted bacon fat (or olive oil), divided
salt and black pepper
Beet Horseradish Ricotta (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes with 1 Tbsp. melted bacon fat (or olive oil), and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes depending on size of fingerlings. Remove from oven, and let cool completely.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out most of the potato flesh, leaving a sturdy shell intact. Set shells aside.
In a medium bowl, mash potato flesh thoroughly with fork. Mix in beet horseradish ricotta. Do ahead: shells and filling can be prepared to this point one day in advance, and stored separately in airtight, refrigerated containers.
Reheat oven to 350°F. Toss potato shells with remaining 1 Tbsp. melted bacon fat or oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on baking sheet, and bake until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.
With pastry bag or spoon, fill shells with potato-ricotta mixture. Return to oven until heated through.
Beet Horseradish Ricotta
Makes about 3/4 c.
Great as a dip, filling or sauce.
6 Tbsp. beet horseradish (may substitute regular horseradish)
1/2 c. ricotta
1/4 c. Greek yogurt
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Store in airtight, refrigerated container for up to 5 days.