- 12 baked potatoes, cooled to room temperature
- 2-3 cups grated cheese (I prefer extra sharp Cheddar, but you can also use Monterey Jack, Colby, Pepper Jack or any combination of those cheeses.)
- 1/2 pound of bacon
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- a batch of Creamy Onion Topping (full post here, or printer friendly version here.)
- additional thinly sliced green onions for topping
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut each baked potato into quarters, taking care to keep the skin as intact as possible. Use a regular soup spoon to carefully scrape most of the insides out of each potato quarter into a large bowl, leaving behind a shell of about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch. When you have eviscerated all your potatoes divide your potato shells between two rimmed baking sheets. Use the potato ‘guts’ to make baked potato soup or tightly wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate and make soup within the next three days.
Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil evenly over the potato shells using about two tablespoons per baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the potato shells to taste. Remember that potatoes love salt, so don’t skimp here.
Place sheet in the top third of your preheated oven. Set timer for 10 minutes.
While the potato shells are toasting, turn your attention to the bacon. Slice the bacon into 1/2-inch thick strips and slide into a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bacon just begins to turn crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Move the drained bacon to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
Remove potato shells from the oven and generously cover with the grated cheese, using about 1-1/2 cups per baking sheet. Scatter the bacon pieces evenly over both sheets and return to the oven. Bake for 6-8 more minutes or until the cheese is melted. If you like your cheese a little on the more toasty side -and I do- allow to cook an additional 2 minutes or just until the cheese is beginning to brown on top but is still gooey underneath.
Move baked potato skins to a platter. If desired, garnish with sliced green onions and serve with a bowl filled with the Creamy Onion Topping.