blog submitted by Nadine Naujoks
Baked potatoes are an easy and inexpensive side dish to make. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and manganese. Because potatoes are so versatile, there are numerous ways to cook them. Below are my favorite ways to make baked potatoes. Pick the method that looks most enticing to you, or experiment a little!
First scrub the potatoes well and dry with dish cloth or paper towel. Remove any “eyes” or bruised spots. Pierce the potatoes a couple times with a fork for faster more even cooking.
1. Traditional Baking: Preheat the oven to 425. Rub the potatoes with a little oil place on a baking rack, in a baking dish or as my Mom preferred, right on the oven rack. Bake for 45-60 minutes. If you like really crispy skins, bake at 375 for about 75 minutes. Potatoes are done when the pierce easily with a fork. Garnish with your choice of salt, pepper, butter, chives, scallions, cheese, crumbled bacon, sour cream.
2. Wrapped in Foil: Preheat the oven to 400. Rub oil on potatoes, season with salt and pepper.Wrap each potato in foil. Set on the oven rack and bake for 60-70 minutes, The skins will be softer and the centers will be creamier. Garnish a you’d like.
3. Hassleback Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425. Skip piercing the potatoes. Set the potato between 2 wooden spoons and make ¼” slices across the potato, using the spoons to keep you from cutting all the way thru the potato. Put potatoes in a baking dish. Spread the slices slightly apart and brush generously with melted butter (or oil, or coconut oil, or bacon grease - whatever fat you fancy.) Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, Brush on another generous layer of butter (or fat of your choice,) making sure the butter gets down into each crevice. Bake another 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. If you’d like to get fancy, you may sprinkle herbs, and cheese into the crevices for the last 5-10 minutes of baking. Garnish as you’d like.
4. Twice Baked Potatoes: Bake potatoes using the Traditional method, above. After taking the potatoes out of the over, turn it down to 375. Holding the potato with an oven mitt, cut the top off lengthwise in a sort of canoe shape, keep the tops. Scoop out most of the potato with a spoon leaving enough potato to make a stable boat. Mash the scooped out potato with sour cream, butter, scallions and kosher salt and pepper. Refill the potato boats with the mashed potato mixture rounding it at the top, sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Brush the tops with butter and season the tops and boat skins wit salt & pepper. Set the boats and lids on a bking sheet and return to the oven to heat through, about 20 minutes. To serve, top the boat with a dollop pf sour cream. Reserve the tops for another meal.
5. The Dinner in Itself Potato: Bake potatoes using the Traditional or Foil Method. While the potatoes are cooking, finely chop onion, broccoli, red pepper, spinach. Sauté all in a pan with butter and olive or coconut oil. Season with kosher salt & pepper. When the potatoes are done, serve each on a plate, smash down once with a potato masher (or a glass) to about an inch thick and top with the sautéed veggies, grated cheese of your choice and sour cream.