These cheesy little potato appetizers are sure to please at your next gathering. A slice of pickled jalapeño adds a spicy kick to the baked potato base, and it’s all topped by a creamy parmesan cap.
Oh. My. Goodness. It’s twelve days until Christmas, and the Christmas spirit has finally struck! Now I’m running around in overdrive. Got shopping to do, gifts to wrap, bathrooms to clean, decorations still to lug out, friends to see, and partying to do.
This little appetizer has been a hit around here. For years (since before kids – and that’s an eternity ago) my go-to appetizer has been canned artichoke hearts, quartered, and dolloped with a mixture of equal parts Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise, then broiled to golden deliciousness. Always a hit.
Well, the hip new cousin on the block uses the same cheesy topping dolloped onto baked little potato halves and slices of pickled jalapeño peppers. The zing that’s joined the party is a welcome taste-bud tantalizer.
I brought a tray of these to a party on the weekend and they were gobbled up. I brought some more to a friend’s house. Same thing. I’ve made a couple batches here at home. You guessed it – inhaled in a flash.
I love that you can roast the potatoes a couple days ahead if you want. I’ve also made the appetizers a few hours ahead and reheated them when we were ready to serve.
Just stir together some grated Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Top each baked potato half with a slice of pickled jalapeño pepper, then dollop on the cheese mixture. Broil 5 minutes and voila – a whole lotta cheesy zing packed into each little mouthful.
And if you’re making these appetizers for a crowd where not everyone likes that tongue-tingling burn, substitute a few of the peppers with pickle slices or sliced, stuffed green olives – same cheesiness; zippy pickle instead of fiery zing.
You’ll be invited back if you bring a tray of these to a party, and you’ll have guests hanging around if you serve these at yours. Always a good thing 🙂
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Kitchen Frau Notes: If you can’t get a hold of pickled jalapeño pepper slices, you can slice up fresh jalapeños and quick-pickle them yourself. Method is below the recipe.
Dill pickle slices, or even slices of stuffed green olives, would make a good substitute for the jalapeños if you’re serving kids or spice-averse palates.
Use a good quality mayonnaise – I like to use Hellman’s Light. Or you can make your own.
For this recipe you need finely grated Parmesan cheese, the one that’s almost powdery, so it melts with the mayonnaise.
Zippy Potato Puffs (Cheesy Little Potato Appetizers)
- 1 lb (454gms) tiny potatoes – 20-22 potatoes that are about 1½ inches/4cm in diameter
- 1 teaspoon oil
- sprinkling of salt
- 40-44 slices pickled jalapeno peppers (or *quick-pickled fresh jalapeños – see below)
- ¾ cup (100gms) finely grated parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup ( 180gms) good quality mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Line a 8 or 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper that comes up on all four sides. Put the little potatoes into the pan and drizzle with the oil. Shake the pan back and forth until the potatoes are coated with oil on all sides. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and shake again to distribute the salt.
Bake potatoes for 30-35 minutes, til tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly. (At this point the potatoes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let them cool, then place them into a paper lunch bag, or in a bowl covered with a paper towel. Roll up the bag to close it, and refrigerate. The bag will help keep the potatoes dry on the outside.)
Preheat the broiler in the oven. Set the top oven rack so it is about 5 inches below the element at the top of the stove.
Slice each little potato in half through the widest part, so you have two shallow halves that lay flat. Slice a little nip off the bottom if they don’t lay flat. Arrange the potato halves onto a baking sheet so they are at least 1 inch apart.
Drain the pickled jalapeño slices and dab them dry with a paper towel. Place a slice of jalapeño onto each potato half, cutting bigger slices in half if needed.
In a small bowl, stir together the grated Parmesan cheese and the mayonnaise. Top each potato with a 1 – 1½ teaspoon-sized dollop of the cheese mixture. Divide up any left over mixture onto the potatoes.
Broil for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling in spots. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Let cool a minute before serving. The spiciness of the pepper is more intense when the appetizers are piping hot.
If you make these little potato appetizers ahead, reheat them for 10 minutes in a 350°F (180°C) oven.
Makes 40 to 44 appetizers.
*How to quick-pickle jalapeños – slice whole fresh jalapeño peppers crosswise into thin rings. Place in a small bowl and cover with white vinegar. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes. Drain and dab dry with a paper towel. Use the rings as you would use canned pickled jalapeños in these appetizers.
Other great appetizers you might also like: