Ina Garten Tops Baked Potatoes With A Beyond Creamy Whip

Ina Garten knows a thing or two about making delicious baked potatoes. She achieves flavorful, crusty skin by rubbing it with olive oil and a salty, lemony herb blend, and tops off her finished product with a creamy, fluffy feta whip. The mixture is pretty similar to your classic whipped feta dip recipe – Garten uses crumbled Greek feta, cream cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. The cheeses get pulsed in a food processor before the rest of the ingredients are added, and the result is a smooth, salty, deliciously cheesy whip.

The feta mixture is more of a filling for the baked potatoes than a topping. Once her spuds are out of the oven, she cuts a slit in the middle of each one and stuffs them with the whip. This dish is full of delicious contrasts: the cold feta whip with the steaming hot potatoes, and the creamy filling with the crispy-skinned spuds. 

"Now almost everybody likes a baked potato, but trust me, if you make these, people are going to say they're the best baked potatoes they've ever had," Garten says in a video on the Food Network's Youtube channel.

A tangy twist on a typical baked potato

Most people think of Greek feta when they think of the cheese, but Garten says you can use French feta too. The latter is milder, however, so if you're looking for a little more tang and sharper flavor, go with the Greek version. As for the cream cheese, it's important to make sure it's room temperature before you throw it in the food processor otherwise, Garten says, it won't get adequately fluffy. After slitting the steaming hot potatoes and stuffing them with spoonfuls of feta whip, don't forget to top off your dish for a little fresh chives. The green herbs are a welcome boost of freshness after all the richness of the cheesy spuds. According to Garten, this side dish works perfectly next to a grilled steak.

Although her whipped feta dip is delicious on top of baked potatoes, that's not the only dish the Barefoot Contessa uses it for. Garten's recipe for tomato crostini with whipped feta uses an almost identical cheesy topping, although this time she uses the creaminess to balance out the acidity of ripe tomatoes. 

The key to the yummy spread, as with many of Garten's dishes, is fresh ingredients — good olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper. Yum!