Disclaimer: I was given free Asiago cheese to review for this post. All opinions are my own.
After receiving a huge chunk of mature Asiago DOP in the mail one blissful day last week, I made plan after plan to whip up something deserving of a truly delicious cheese. The Asiago Consortium provided a lot of drool-worthy material to get me excited about experimenting with this flavorful chunk of Italian goodness.
After Husband fell victim to a completely unexpected hangover (emphasis on the word "victim"), I felt that I would have to make some snap decisions in order to save my own day. I know a lot of things about Husband at this point, including that he loves bacon, potatoes, and cheese. I actually had two suffering victims in my house last weekend (Mops claims first position as perpetual victim):
While Mops and my ailing spouse were commiserating on the couch, I took action. I debated making oven-roasted potato chips, potato skins, or french fries for the poor boy. I ended up making somewhat of a hybrid. These potatoes are sufficiently crunchy, but are cut thicker than potato chips and have a bit of softness in the middle.
The sliced potatoes are tossed in a blend of olive oil, garlic, thyme, and cayenne pepper before they are baked to a golden brown. While the potatoes are crisping, cook and crumble bacon (not a maple-smoked or sweet variety). The potatoes are topped with bacon, authentic Asiago PDO, a bit more spice (if you dare), and honey, then returned to the oven. I drizzled balsamic reduction and topped with green onions right before serving.
Back to that cheese that I got to use in this recipe: it's delicious. When buying Asiago in the grocery store, take care to read the labels. If it doesn't say Asiago Formaggio DOP on the side, it isn't the real stuff. Why is buying the "real stuff" important? Authentic Asiago DOP follows a thousand year old tradition of making the cheese in the same way in the same region in Italy.
Mature Asiago DOP (or Asiago DOP Stagionato, if you're brushing up on your Italiano) is produced with skimmed milk and has a more full-bodied, stronger flavor than fresh Asiago (you can compare the flavors on the Consortium's website). Mature Asiago DOP is ripened from 3 to 15 months before being put on the market. It has a distinct, milky, nutty flavor and it couldn't be more perfect in a dish like this one, paired with strong flavors like bacon, honey, and balsamic.
Herbed Potato Crisps with Asiago, Bacon, and Honey
You will need:
- 1 medium sweet potato, unpeeled, sliced into 1/4 inch thick "coins"
- 1 medium potato, unpeeled, sliced into 1/4 inch thick "coins"
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (divided)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. cayenne (divided)
- 3 slices smoked bacon
- 1/2 cup aged authentic aged Asiago DOP, shredded
- Honey, to drizzle (~2 tbsp.)
- Balsamic reduction, to drizzle (optional)
- 1/4 cup thinly-sliced green onions (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400. Place a non-stick liner on a baking sheet, or lightly spray with non-stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, toss together potatoes, olive oil, 1 tsp. thyme, garlic, garlic salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne.
- Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then turn crisps over. Apply extra olive oil, if needed, and scatter remaining cayenne pepper and thyme over chips. Add more salt and pepper, if desired.
- Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, until potatoes are crisp.
- While potatoes are baking, cook the bacon on a skillet until crispy. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel to remove excess fat. When cool, crumble bacon into small pieces and set aside.
- Remove potatoes from oven, then top with chopped bacon, Asiago, and honey. Return to oven and bake for 5-8 minutes longer, until Asiago is bubbling.
- Remove from oven, let stand for about 10 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and top with green onions prior to serving, if desired.