The Best Baked Potatoes
The Best Baked Potatoes
The best? Really? Who am I to say? Well, my guy. And me!
And it’s simple and easy.
We love potatoes at this house. Smashed. Baked. Roasted. Fried. Chipped. Second only to steaks or lobsters. But, considering those prices, potatoes are the budget winner.
Baked is, by far, the most versatile. Take a baked potato and you can make all sorts of things. In its plain, naked glory, top it with:
Chicken pot pie
On a cold, winter day, it’ll warm the cockles of your heart.
Or scoop out the baked insides and make quick smashed potatoes by adding some butter, garlic, salt & pepper and a little sour cream. Or scoop out the insides and add to cream soups for a more substantial soup. Or go country-style and include the peeling.
But, how is the best way to bake it? The old way I always used to do, because this was the way Betty did it, which was how her mom did it, was to scrub clean, wrap in tin foil, and bake at 400 degrees for an hour.
Then, the microwave came along and I started nuking them for three minutes, then, finished them up wrapped in foil in the oven for 20 or so minutes. I could pretend I’d had them there all along. Except for the times— like every time— I was in a hurry, so I nuked them for five or six minutes and called it a day. Of course, I had to eat around the hard, over-cooked edges in places.
But, how to bake one perfectly?
Bake them in salt in the oven for a hour. That’s the short answer.
Here are the details.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2 Russet Potatoes, scrubbed clean and allowed to dry
1-2 cups Sea Salt
2 sprigs Rosemary, fresh (Plus, another 1/4 teaspoon minced, set aside)
1 bulb Garlic, fresh
2 teaspoons Olive Oil or Coconut oil*
2 tablespoons Butter or Coconut oil, softened
2 tablespoons Sour cream or Greek yogurt, plain, 0% fat
2 teaspoons Chives, minced
In a dish large enough to hold the potatoes & garlic, I used a 8 x 12 roasting pan, spread the 1-2 cups Sea Salt on bottom. Lay the clean & dry potatoes on top. Place garlic and rosemary sprigs in dish.
Cover tightly with foil. Bake an hour and fifteen minutes. Check at an hour if potatoes are smaller.
Remove from oven and raise temperature to 500 degrees. Remove foil. Remove garlic and set aside to cool. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil on top of each potato without removing from salt.
Return to oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
While potatoes are in the last baking, gently hold onto the root end of the baked garlic bulb and squeeze cloves from skins into a bowl. Add softened butter, the 1/4 teaspoon minced rosemary that’s been set aside, Greek yogurt, and salt and pepper to taste.
Potatoes should look glossy and be fork tender. Removed from oven and dust off any sea salt sticking to the skins. Split and break open, top with butter mixture, sprinkle on a few chives. Serves 2.
If you noticed, I gave you the choice to use coconut oil and Greek yogurt. As you may know, we’re watching our diet and just by substituting those two ingredients will reduce the fat content— and still tastes great!
Consider these numbers:
Sour Cream 1 tablespoon = 3 grams fat and 30 calories
Greek Yogurt 1 tablespoon = 0 grams fat and 8 calories
Coconut Oil 1 tablespoon = 14 grams fat and 120 calories
Olive Oil 1 tablespoon = 14 grams fat and 120 calories
Butter 1 tablespoon = 12 grams fat and 102 calories
* A word about Coconut Oil. Be sure to buy Organic, Virgin, cold pressed Coconut Oil. Read the label and avoid all hydrogenated oil with trans fats. They pack a double whammy by lowering the good cholesterol and raising the bad, so you lose both ways. Most of the saturated fat in virgin CO is in the form of lauric acid which is supposed to raise the good and lower the bad cholesterol. CO is also a medium-chain fatty acid, compared to the more common long-chain fatty acids, which is supposed to be better for you. It’s not a low calorie substance and I’m not a chemist or a doctor, so check with your physician concerning your own health issues.
Or totally disregard! And top with bacon, goat cheese, and sour cream. Happy Potato Days!
Until next time. Be sweet.