A baked potato is usually loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon bits and cheese in order to add some taste. Once you follow this recipe, you will not only want to taste a potato without it being fully loaded but I assure you that you will enjoy it beyond your wildest expectations. In fact, you will not only enjoy the tasty, tender and fluffy tuber of the potato, you will also lick your fingers while savoring the crispy and delicious skin of this succulent side dish. Hungry yet?
The question that is now on your mind, torturing your taste buds is: "How do I cook the best baked potato?" Simple, just follow these useful steps!
- Choose your potato wisely! It is best to use either specially labeled potatoes that are meant to be cooked as baked potatoes or white potatoes. These tubers are white and starchy and do not have a sweet or strong taste to them. Make sure they are firm; their skin should be smooth and free of sprouts. Use medium-sized potatoes (as people usually add other side dishes to their meal).
- Poke them around! Poke your potatoes all around with a fork. This step is necessary to let the hot air cook the potato through while the pressure created by the steam escapes through the holes. If you ever forget to do this step, I promise you the mess of a lifetime as your potatoes will explode under pressure.
- Oil is the secret...or part of it! Use olive oil or canola oil (if you do not have olive oil). Oil your potatoes generously with either a cooking brush or your hands. They should be shiny, but not dripping wet. The oil will keep the skin from drying out and wrinkling and it will make the skin nice and crispy.
- Salt is the other secret ingredient! Sprinkle kosher salt or table salt all over the potato. This will add taste to the tuber and prevent it from drying out. It will also make it tender, fluffy, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth, as it will keep the humidity inside the potato.
- Preheat the oven! Preheat the oven to a temperature of 400 degrees. Your baked potatoes should be ready 1 1/2 to 2 hours later, depending on your stove. Deposit your baked potatoes directly on the grill. If the potato makes contact with a pan, the part of skin in contact with the pan will become either hard to cut or simply wrinkled and less tasty.
- Cut, serve and enjoy! Cut the baked potatoes in half, following their length. Use tongs and squeeze the potatoes a bit by adding pressure at both ends. The inside of the potato will fluff up. Spread your favorite toppings in your potato but avoid overloading it, as you really want to enjoy its delicious taste. In our family, we usually use salt, freshly ground pepper, butter and freshly cut chives or green onions.
If you use foil, the skin of your baked potatoes will wrinkle and be tasteless (because the humidity is kept around the potato instead of inside it). Enjoy your baked potatoes from the inside out and benefit from the full amount of nutrients that these vegetables can provide to you. Believe me when I say that from the moment that you taste these baked potatoes for the first time, you will never want to go back to the old ones wrapped in foil. I dare you and your taste buds to find satisfaction in the old ways. Please your palate and your body by savoring delicious and nutritious baked potatoes from now on.