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TIP OF THE DAY: The Perfect Baked Potato & Toppings

We really miss our mother’s baked potatoes. Mom was a potato fan and made a simple preparation every night, rotating among baked, boiled with parsley butter, French fried and mashed (for Sunday brunch, hash browns; for special occasions, potato pancakes).

Among this group, what we no longer come across—or make at home—is her baked potato with a super-crisp skin. We liked the outside as much as the inside. But in the interest of time, we’ve been baking our potatoes in the microwave. They’re O.K., but not memorable. In fact, they steam rather than bake, impacting the texture. This also happens when you wrap a potato in foil before baking.

So yesterday we turned on the oven and made baked potatoes with Mom’s favorite toppings: butter and sour cream topped with fresh-ground black pepper and minced fresh chives.

 
RECIPE: BAKED POTATO WITH A CRISP SKIN

Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes (ideally Idaho Russet Burbank baking potatoes)
  • Olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toppings (see below)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Rinse the potatoes under running water and pat dry. Pierce each potato 5 times with the tines of a fork.

    2. RUB the potatoes with oil, sprinkle with salt and a bit of pepper, and place on a baking sheet/in a baking pan;

    3. BAKE for 45 minutes and test for doneness: a cake tester should go in without resistance. If you want even crisper skin, raise the oven to 400°F for the last 15 minutes,

    4. REMOVE from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting a vent across the top.

    5. SERVE with a variety of toppings.
     
    BAKED POTATO TOPPINGS

    One of our favorite party foods is a baked potato bar with lots of different toppings:

      Baked Potato & Toppings

    Baked Potato Toppings
    Top: Fresh from the oven and waiting to be topped. Bottom: Different baked potato toppings. Can you choose just one? Photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

  • Butter, plain Greek yogurt, sour cream
  • Chili, guacamole
  • Diced broccoli florets, caramelized onions, corn kernels, sautéed mushrooms, sliced jalapeños, sliced olives, sliced scallions
  • Crumbled bacon, crumbled cheese (blue, feta, goat), grated Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • Herbs (basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley), hot pepper sauce, salsa, stewed tomatoes
  •  
    Or, try these recipes:

  • Bruschetta Baked Potato: 2 medium tomatoes diced, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, 2 cloves (1 teaspoon) of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss together in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Optional: Add chopped chicken to Bruschetta topping.
  • Classic Baked Potato: 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon fresh chives chopped. Mix all ingredients except 1 tablespoon of chives in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Garnish with remaining chives.
  • Lemon Herb Yogurt Baked Potato: 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Garnish with dill sprigs.
  • Mediterranean Baked Potato: 1 container (6 ounces) feta cheese, 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced drained olives, 1 medium tomato diced (optional), salt and pepper to taste. Toss together in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes.
  • Pico de Gallo Baked Potato: 1/2 cup pre-made pico de gallo or mix 1 medium tomato diced, 1 small onion finely chopped, 1 green onion chopped, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Garnish with extra cilantro.
  •  
     
    MORE BASKED POTATO IDEAS

  • Beets & Feta Cheese Baked Potatoes
  • Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potatoes
  • Leftovers-Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Zig Zag Baked Potatoes
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF POTATOES & THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF POTATOES

      




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