Cheap Tasty Tavern Snacks!
One that a bar can lower food cost is to alter how the food is prepared. Many bars offer complimentary snack food in chafing dishes during happy hour. Fried potato skins with a fancy topping are a popular happy hour hors d'oeuvre that is cheap to make.
Many bars purchase pre-made frozen potato skins, instead of making them from scratch. Not only does this increase food cost percentages, it is not utilitarian. Traditional potato skins are made out of leftover baked potatoes. The skins are served as snacks and the core of the potato is used to make home fries, soup or mashed potato.
In fancier bars and restaurants, potatoes are peeled ahead of time and often the skins are just tossed in the garbage. In the long run, this is like throwing money in the trash, if the restaurant offers free bar hors d'oeuvres. Using a paring knife to intentionally cut thick potato peels will result in making two products out of one, which eliminates waste. The thick potato peels can be turned into complimentary snack food, which can even be sold as appetizers.
When thick potato skins are cut, the peeled potato looks like a rectangular or multi sided block. In French restaurants, potato blocks are necessary for most French precision knife cuts. Blocked potatoes are a nice convenience in a French restaurant and the thick potato skin peels offer opportunities to create tasty snack food.
Potato Preparation For Skins:
This recipe yields enough potato skins for 1 appetizer portion. A wide potato may yield 6 to 8 potato skin strips. An average potato will yield 4 to 6 strips.
Step 1: Select a large russet potato that is about 6" long.
Wash the potato under cold running water.
Step 2: Use a paring knife to cut long thick potato peelings that are about 1/4" to 3/8" thick. The skins should have a uniform width of about 1 1/4" to 1 1/2".
Step 3: Place the thick potato skins in a container of cold water. (This prevents oxidation.)
Place the peeled whole potato block in a container of water.
Keep the prepared potato skins and potato blocks chilled for later use.
Fried Potato Skins:
This recipe yields 1 appetizer portion.
Step 1: Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil or frying lard to 360ºF in a high sided pot.
Step 2: Drain the water off of the prepared potato skins.
Use a lint free pastrry towel to pat the potatoes dry. (A fan can be used to dry off any remaining moisture too.)
Step 3: Place the skins in the hot oil.
Fry the potato skins till they are crispy golden brown. (CGB!)
Step 4: Place the fried skins on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
Lightly season with sea salt and white pepper.
Tater Skins topped with Pink Peppercorn, Parmigiana Cheese and Green Tabasco Vinegar:
This recipe yields 1 appetizer portion.
Fried Tater Skins can be topped with just about anything. Spicy savory flavors are best when beer is the beverage of choice.
Green Tabasco Vinegar is a condiment that is placed on nearly every restaurant table in the Carolinas and Georgia. The green tabasco peppers in the bottle are medium spicy hot and they have a unique chile pepper flavor. Shaker bottles of "Trappy's Peppers In Vinegar" is a fairly easy to find table condiment and the peppers in the bottle are green tabasco chiles.
Brazilian Pink Peppercorns have a smokey mild black pepper flavor that goes well with Parmigiana Cheese. To add a gourmet touch, use real imported Italian Parmigiana Cheese!
Step 1: Place the fried potato skins on a roasting pan, so the skin side faces down.
Brush the skins with olive oil.
Step 2: Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of green tabasco vinegar on the skins.
Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of crushed pink peppercorn on the skins.
Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese on the skins.
Place 1 pickled green tabasco pepper on each potato skin.
Step 3: Roast the skins in a 350ºF oven till the cheese and peppercorns become aromatic, but not browned.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Step 4: Arrange the fancy Tater Skins on an appetizer plate.
Sprinkle 1 pinch of minced Italian Parsley over the skins.
Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
Viola! Simple fresh gourmet potato skins that look and taste good enough to sell as an appetizer!