Potato peels can be a challenging scrap to find another use for, but it turns out there is a pretty genius way to use up heaps of potato peels. Thanks to longtime Food52er AntoniaJames, I learned that potato peels’ true destiny is in bread. She first shared *years* ago that she cooks the peels in water and blitzes the peels with a hand blender, saving both the starchy cooking water and the blended potato peel mush for use in rustic artisanal breads.
I decided to apply AntoniaJames' trick to Alexandra Stafford’s Overnight, Refrigerator Focaccia as my base recipe. Stafford’s no-knead bread, and her recent cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs, have taught me so much about bread baking, so I was thrilled when she recently shared a tweaked version of her base focaccia bread. With a heap of potato peels looking at me, it was meant to be.
And, so inspired by Potato (Peel) Focaccia, my brain immediately jumped to loaded baked potato skins, which is one of the few ways—besides, now, in bread!—potato skins get to shine. So I made a version of the focaccia loaded with cheddar cheese, green onion, and bacon bits, which is the perfect partner for a bowl of potato soup (which you just might have the potatoes on hand to make).
For the bacon bits, I used the shelf-stable ones that aren't actually made with any bacon, because it makes the bread vegetarian-friendly! If you not into that idea, use well-cooked, crumbled bacon instead.
Any type of potato peels can be used in this recipe. Lightly-colored, thinner ones like Yukon Golds will virtually disappear, darker-colored ones like russets will freckle the dough. And it isn't necessary to hit the 4-ounce mark either, if you're only peeling 4 potatoes, use those peels! I like to put the peels in one pot and the potatoes in another and cook them at the same time, if you do that, too, you can use the potato-cooking water as well, in Step 3.
Recipe adapted from Alexandra Stafford's from Overnight, Refrigerator Focaccia. —Lindsay-Jean Hard