Real Baked Potatoes

This past weekend when we had a couple of friends over, I wanted the meal I cooked to be perfect.  Who doesn’t like to impress?  I certainly do!  I knew we were going to grill steaks and, in my opinion, a steak isn’t complete without a baked potato.  Lordy, do I ever love steak and baked potatoes!  

Years ago, I just washed my potatoes and poked them with a fork, wrapped them in aluminum foil, and baked them forever.  I checked to see if they were done just the same way that my mother had taught me – stick a fork in it and see how easily it slides off.  These past few years, I’ve washed my potatoes, poked them, brushed them with oil and salted them then rolled them in foil and proceeded to cook them forever. But, Saturday, I wanted them to be just right.  So I hit the internet to find out how to cook the perfect spud.

Did you know that a true baked potato is not wrapped in aluminum foil?  I did not know this.  Apparently, if you wrap a potato in foil, the foil holds in the moisture and actually steams the potato, giving it a more boiled flavor and a different texture.  Personally, I put so much butter and sour cream on mine, it just tastes like a potato.  But, this theory makes sense to me.  So, I did not bake my potatoes in foil.   

Also, I found out that in order for your baked potato to be light and flaky, you need to use mature, baking-type potatoes.  You should also make sure your potato is a nice brown color and doesn’t have a green cast to it.   Try to make sure your potatoes are similar in size so they all get done at about the same time. 

Here’s what I did:

1.  Scrubbed my potatoes.  Don’t just wash them off, you want to make sure they’re really clean so you can eat the skins.  That’s the best part, right?

2.  Dried the potatoes well with a towel.

3.  Poked holes in the potatoes with the tines of a fork.  Four times on each side, to be precise!

4.  Brushed each potato with olive oil and rubbed with kosher salt.  I tried rolling it in the salt but it was too much salt so I ended up just sprinkling it over the potatoes and rubbing it around to make sure it was covered.

5.  Placed my prepared potaoes directly on the oven rack in my preheated 400 degree oven.  

6.  Baked the potatoes for approximately 90 minutes.  I was busy chit-chatting with the guests to keep and exact time but it was about 90 minutes or so. 

7.  I tested for doneness by gently squeezing the middle of the potato (while wearing an oven mitt, obviously).  When they “gave a little”, they were done!  

These were the best baked potatoes I’ve ever made – by far!  

Never failing to impress, I had cut up some green onions and cooked & crumbled bacon earlier in the day so I could serve my potatoes “loaded”.  YUM!

So, do you have a potato tip?  Maybe you have a tasty ‘tater recipe?  We’re always eating potatoes around here so I’d love to hear from you!

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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