Nathan Nichols, executive chef, Gram &
Dun, Kansas City, Missouri
Yield: 5 servings
5 russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
5 whole nutmeg, grated
1 T. salt
1 T. pepper
¼ cup chives, chopped
¾ cup bacon lardons
1 quart heavy cream
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup cheese curds
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bake potatoes at 350°F for 45-60
minutes, until tender. Scrape potato
meal from skins. Reserve potato
skins for service.
2. Run meal through food mill into
mixing bowl. Mix with flour, nutmeg,
salt, pepper and chives. Portion into
balls. Sprinkle flour on board/table;
lightly knead and roll out dough
balls. Cut dough into 1-inch pieces;
place in pan of boiling water. Cook
until gnocchi floats to top. Strain.
Toss cooked pieces in oil. Store in
tub with lid; reserve in refrigerator.
3. Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon lardons to
pan; saute 1 minute, or until bacon
begins to sweat. Add cream; bring
to a boil. Add gnocchi; stir to evenly
coat. Reduce heat to medium; reduce
cream until mixture thickens to
desired consistency. Remove from
heat. Fold in sour cream and cheese
curds. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon into baked potato shells. Serve.
JODY SHEE, AN OLATHE, KANSAS-BASED FREELANCE WRITER AND EDITOR, PREVIOUSLY WAS EDITOR OF A FOODSERVICE MAGAZINE. SHE HAS
MORE THAN 20 YEARS OF FOOD-WRITING EXPERIENCE AND WRITES THE BLOG W W W.SHEEFOOD.COM.
the potato/bacon mixture are toasted breadcrumbs, a drizzle of roasted garlic sour cream sauce and
a finish of scallions for color.
When he added the dish to the food truck menu at the beginning of the second year in business,
Andrews wasn’t sure how it would go over. He attributes the instant success to its simplicity, and
the fact that everyone relates to baked potatoes.
Cheese and crunch
Many menu successes prove that if loaded potatoes aren’t compelling enough by themselves,
the addition of cheese and/or crunch creates a magnet attraction. Meat Market in Miami Beach,
Florida, loads the inside of its tater tots with cheese for its popular Gouda tater tots.
“Who doesn’t enjoy biting into a fried, crispy potato stuffed with melted Gouda cheese?” asks
Sean Brasel, executive chef/co-owner. When he opened the restaurant, he wanted a side dish that
felt homey, but with a fun element. Thus, he thought of tater tots. They are so popular, they have
never come off the menu.
He partially roasts russet potatoes with the skin on so they are still hard inside. Then he peels
the potatoes, shreds them on a box grater and cools slightly. He mixes in equal amounts of smoked
cheddar and Gouda cheeses, and seasons with salt and pepper before forming the mixture into
½-ounce cylinders and reserving in the refrigerator.
To serve, Brasel covers the tater tots in cornstarch, drops them in oil and fries them to golden-brown. They come with roasted-garlic aioli for dipping.
To achieve crunch, a simple potato chip topping works. But more operators are simply loading
a plate of potato chips, as at Overland Park, Kansas-based Sunset Grill with its new loaded potato
chips appetizer—homestyle chips piled high with cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and bacon
topped with sour cream and scallions.
Loaded potato salad can be cold or hot, but for a crunch factor, do ripped potatoes, says
Woolley. Take already cooked russets, cool them, break them into chunks and deep-fry them. They
can be loaded themselves as a type of salad.
A loaded potato of any kind becomes an easily approached entree with the addition of meat.
Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, Texas, offers a loaded baked potato with burnt ends entree in which
the burnt ends arrive at the table atop the baked potatoes with cheese, butter, sour cream and bacon.
Seafood also works with potatoes. Woolley has been playing with a clam chowder version of a
loaded potato. Because potatoes already are a part of clam chowder, “instead of bringing the clam
chowder forward, have the potato be the forward part of it. If you use cheese, use a milder cheddar,”
he says. But better to simply deconstruct the chowder and top a baked potato with sauteed celery
and onions, cream, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, clams and bacon.
Woolley also suggests loading potatoes of any type with roasted or smoked chicken and an
egg—simply because a potato is such a natural carrier for flavor, and any protein goes with it.