Baked Potato Nests and a little joy to share!!


I first ate these beautiful looking potato nests at a lovely cafe called “caffe dei portici” established in 1870 in Genoa (Italy) where these were the speciality of the day I visited!It was scribbled on the black board outside ‘Nido di patatewhich was all dutch to me ..but there was a big fat potato pic by the side of it.Now, when you go to such countries where language is a hurdle, you come to realize the importance of pictures, expression on faces and actions by hands….Thinking that potato is the safest veggie bet, I ordered it …only to find out that they were topped with salmon :)…It was quite a few years back , I had no idea of the language or cuisine…only Chow & Grazie on language front and pizza & pasta on food :) and even after the surprises, I fell in love with these at first bite!

The ones I had were with sour cream and smoked salmon.Now, did I just say that these are new to me..no no no…actually these are the phoren cousin of Indian aaloo basket which is stuffed with fruits, sprouts ,yogurt and tamarind chutney and makes for a lip smacking chaat item …a haldiram’s speciality!

The ones here are just a sophisticated version decked up with videshi ingredients to make up for a stylish looking appetizer. Now,making[read baking ]these up was a mammoth task for me.The fried version is really easy and fast. After 2 failed attempts, I could  manage few decent looking ones which did seem like lone cousins of  some ugly duckling but still thought of posting them coz I had put in so much effort! There are numerous recipes floating around on the internet but none of them was of much use sadly :( To cut the story short, whosoever well said that practice makes (wo)man perfect was indigenous but extreme ! :)

The potatoes to be used for making these nests have to be super starchy.Though the fried version lasts for days together without losing its crispness, the baked version has a downside…u can only make them 4-5 hours in advance before serving/eating. The baked recipe is really healthy in the sense that not even one teaspoon oil is needed for making the nests and all of us know that boiled potatoes are actually really good for health so you will have a lot of room of making them slightly unhealthy by decking them up with whatever you like :) At least I did topped them with lot of goodies!! :-) Now there’s another catch, you can very well top all the veggies with cheese and throw these into the oven till the cheese melts but because I like the taste of fresh mozzarella, I prefered to keep the bits and the crunchiness of veggies! Again the same funda…Your dish..Your Wish!! :)

What I need:

For the nests

Makes 6

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • water for boiling

For the filling (there is no measurement as such , just chop and combine anything )I am jotting down for recipe sake only!!

  • 3 tbsp diced zucchini
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (or adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 tbsp diced tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro /Parsley for garnish (optional)
  • A few dollops of sour cream (if you wish)

How I did it :

  • In a large pan with a lid, boil unpeeled potatoes in lots of water over high heat till just cooked,about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and then refrigerate until cold.
  • Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan saute the diced zucchini in 1 tsp olive oil for about 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl mix the sautéed zucchini,diced tomatoes, mozzarella, oregano,hot sauce and salt and combine well.Refrigerate till ready to serve.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease 6 cups of your muffin sheet. Alternatively, you can also make these using mini muffin tray.
  • Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes. Gently toss grated potatoes with salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • In each muffin cup,place about 2 heaped tbsp of the potato mixture and press against bottom and up sides.Do not spread or press the mixture too hard else holes will form while baking.

  • Bake the potato nests until edges are dark golden, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool the baked nests in muffin sheet for 10 minutes.Thereafter, carefully remove nests from the muffin sheet and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to set .Leave at room temperature.
  • Just before serving, preheat the oven to 375 F. Remove the paper towel beneath the nests and bake untill the nests are thoroughly heated and crisp.Around 6-9 minutes.
  • Transfer the nests to the serving platter.Using a small spoon, tip in the veggie mixture into each potato nest and top each nest with a dollop of light sour cream and if desired , a cilantro/parsley leaf.
  • Serve right away !

Notes:

  1. You can also use store-bought thawed hash browns for making the nests.
  2. Use whatever topping you want ..spinach,mushrooms,salmon,eggs,bacon,basil, chives …anything or everything u want!!

Okay..now as they say that save the best for the last…but I will unveil it now :

My recipe for Mirchi Ka Salan/Green Chillies in Peanut Sesame Sauce was chosen as one amongst the best of blog hop (volume 13) last week! Read more about it here….Yipeee….I am really happy and thankful to all the hosts of the event for acknowledging my efforts :)

Enjoy!!!

Sending this to summer/fall fest


Sending this to Only-Low oil or Low Calorie hosted by Priya and started by Pari
Sending this to Bake off event on Champa’s blog!
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Comments

  1. thats a super neat idea Tanvi an you did a fantastic job here. well done. very healthy compared to my fried baskets. will now eat the chaat without guilt pangs.

  2. wow, they look so nice :) I am bookmarking this.

  3. well deserved. And that nests looks great. I make them too. I specially like to add guacamole, sour cream and jack/cheddar cheese! but as you said, the nests can be pain sometimes. So I stick with baked potatoes and scoop out the flesh, and fill it up. Similar flavors unless ofcourse i’m making it for guests!

  4. wow awesome dear ,those cute potato baskets r amazing n love the filling u used in it …yummy ..bookmarked dear …..thanks for sharing
    Satya
    http://www.superyummyrecipes.com

  5. Thats truly awesome……loved the read……..will surely make this Tanvi….and heartiest congratualtions for ur success….

  6. heard a lot about this.. havent tried yet..
    i’ll surely this interesting recipe..

  7. I too go one with baked version of potato, lip smacking recipe…slurp :)

  8. Wow! I love those little baked potato nests…looks awesome.

  9. These look like an excellent, unique appetizer.

    I can see how this can be difficult to pull off while baking instead of deep-frying. Building the nests looks like a very delicate task. What would happen if the potatoes aren’t boiled before they’re shredded for the basket? Would they fall apart, or would there just be too much water?

    • Yes Dan that baked version was really difficult. Semi cooking the potatoes before shredding lets the starches in them to become sticky…thats why the shreds will stick together in the muffin cup.Else holding the shreds up the muffin sides is difficult and the nest shape will not form!

  10. It looks so beautiful and really very nicely done…looks so yum…

  11. Great work Tanvi! They look so cute and delicious!

  12. Loved the li’l nest! And congrats on being featured!

  13. Cute and marvellous looking baked potato baskets..very tempting.

  14. They do look incredibly cute tanvi..and anything with potatoes il never say no

  15. So cute! What great little bites!

  16. wow you have really excelled !!

    They look fantastic.

    Mina

  17. Very creative and great recipe, looks so yum..

  18. That’s nifty..congrats on your achievement !

  19. Jagruti says:

    Super…bookmarking it!

  20. Tanvi! OMG these look amazing. And I love all the photos and explanation. Great job lady (=

  21. what a lovely snack idea!

  22. These make beautiful and delicious appetizers. Thanks for a lovely entry.

  23. Super !!! Actually very cute… :-) Wish i could taste it…

  24. How unique! I love grated potato dishes. Have never thought of making nests though. Great idea!

  25. hey real cuties there..gr8 clicks too..

  26. Pittsburgh2 says:

    My mother and aunt have been making these for as long as I can remember. I remmeber, as a little girl, having them creamed almost anything. But my aunt used to serve them at her fancy lunches with ham with peas and carrots creamed and tomato aspic salad. Delicious! My aunt had a trick tht worked well for her and made a more dense basket, She rant the potatoes through a dicer.

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