These delicious potato nests have a surprisingly delicate texture. They can be used as a base for innumerable toppings, including smoked salmon or cheese curds and gravy. The nests can be made ahead of time and frozen; you can heat them straight from the freezer but they made need a bit more time back in the oven to crisp up.
2 large russet potatoes
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
canola oil (for greasing muffin tins)
Smoked Salmon Topping
Combine the following and refrigerate:
4 tablespoons chopped smoked salmon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup sour cream
slivered green onion tops for garnish
½ cup cheese curds, in small pieces
½ cup of hot gravy or purchased poutine sauce
Other topping suggestions
Pulled pork, cranberry and brie, cream cheese and hot red pepper jelly, diced, roasted root vegetables and balsamic vinegar…use your imagination!
- Put potatoes and just enough cold water to cover in a medium saucepan. Cover the pot.
- Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat so that the potatoes boil gently until just tender, about 15 minutes. They should yield to the pressure of a sharp knife tip but not be falling apart.
- Drain the potatoes; let them cool out of the pot (just put them on the counter) for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until cold (at least 1 hour).
- When potatoes are cold, grate them with the large holes of a box grater.
- Toss the grated potato with the salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Lightly grease 24 cups of a mini-muffin tin with canola or other vegetable oil. This is easiest done with a silicone basting brush, but you can even use a piece of paper towel.
- Take heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture in your hand and press into each indentation of the muffin tin. Press the potato against the bottom and up the sides; it should extend a bit above the top of each muffin cup. Use a few more slivers of potato as needed to patch any holes; you want to be sure your potato nests are solid, to hold their fillings.
- When nests have been formed, bake them until the edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Carefully remove nests from pans and place on a wire rack to cool thoroughly. Use within 6 hours, or put in an airtight container to freeze for use within two weeks.
- When ready to fill and serve the nests, preheat oven to 375F.
- Put nests on a large baking sheet and bake until crisp and heated all the way through (about 6 – 8 minutes).
- Transfer heated nests to a serving plate and add toppings (cheese curd bits and about a teaspoon of hot gravy or 2 teaspoons of smoked salmon mixture, etc.). Garnish with chopped green onions or parsley.
- Serve immediately.
- Makes 24 nests. Can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled!