I grew up in a household that couldn't make up its mind on the topic of potatoes. My father was a sweet potato man, through and through. Meanwhile, my mother swore by the starchy, non-sweet varieties. This formula works on regular old white potatoes, and sweeter varieties alike—my favorite version of the latter is with Murasaki sweet potatoes. Or, if you're anything like my parents, you can use one of each. —Ella Quittner
1 hour 40 minutes
4 potato halves
medium-sized Russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried but unpeeled or Murasaki (Japanese) sweet potatoes
avocado oil (or any high–heat friendly neutral oil), plus 1/4 cup
kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon, plus more as needed
freshly cracked black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups
Greek yogurt (I like full-fat)
plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
microplaned (or finely grated) garlic
finely chopped scallion (green and light green parts only), divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
Heat oven to 475°F. Poke potatoes all over with a fork. Rub the skins with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 45 to 50 minutes (for sweet potatoes, check after 40 minutes), until skins are crispy and you can insert a knife into the center with very little resistance beyond the skin. You can do this a few hours in advance, and just let them sit out at room temperature until you’re ready to proceed.
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the garlicky Greek yogurt and the mushroom bacon. For the yogurt, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt with 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Taste, and adjust seasoning accordingly with more salt and/or lemon juice. Reserve 1/4 cup of the garlicky Greek yogurt for garnish—leave the rest in the large mixing bowl for use when the potatoes come out of the oven.
Prep the mushroom bacon. On a rimmed sheet pan, toss the mushrooms with 1/4 cup oil (they’ll absorb it). Sprinkle over the mushrooms: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Spread out so they’re not touching one another, otherwise, they’ll steam.
Once the potatoes are ready to come out, remove from oven and turn the oven temperature down to 375°F. After 10 minutes or so, add the sheet pan of mushrooms. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in total, flipping once midway through, until they’re crispy and browned with just the slightest spot of chewiness remaining in the center. (You’re going to end up adding the potatoes back into the oven with the mushrooms, too, so leave them shelf space.)
Let the potatoes cool a couple minutes, until you can handle them. Cut each in half lengthwise, and scoop out most of the softened flesh, leaving about 1/4-inch around the inner peels, and transfer to the large mixing bowl of garlicky Greek yogurt. (Note: if you're using one sweet and one savory potato, do this step in separate bowls to keep them separate with half of the other ingredients, each.) Leave the potato skins on the cooking sheet. Add 3/4 cup chopped scallions and 1/2 cup Parmesan to the bowl. Mix the potato flesh with the yogurt, scallions, and Parmesan until everything is smooth and combined. Taste and add additional salt, if needed to make the flavors pop. Spoon the mashed potato mixture back into the potato skins, sprinkle the tops with remaining Parmesan, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (along with the mushroom bacon), until cheese on top of potatoes is fully melted and bubbling.
The potatoes and mushroom bacon should finish cooking around roughly the same time. Remove each from oven when done. For the best mix of final textures, put the potatoes under the broiler for 1 minute, until the cheese is dotted with brown spots. To serve, top each potato half with a generous dollop of reserved garlicky Greek yogurt, some of the mushroom bacon (break it up with your hands if the pieces are too large), and a sprinkling of chopped scallion.
Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.