Baking the Perfect Potato
I don’t know about you, but I think an honest-to-goodness oven-baked potato is infinitely better than a “baked” potato out of a microwave.
As a child of the late 70s and 80s, I grew up thinking potatoes were baked in the microwave – as did most of my peers, of this I am sure! But, microwaved potatoes are wrought with problems.They can be hot in sections, cold in sections, and can get really tough really quickly. And, it isn’t really all that fast to cook a potato in the microwave.
So, today I thought I’d share with you my “recipe” for baked potatoes. This isn’t a recipe, but more like a process, really.
I make up a batch of his and hers potatoes most weekends, and then have ready-to-go side dishes during the busy workweek. 2Chili prefers traditional Russets, whereas I like a nice yam or sweet potato, and this process lets us both get what we want.
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Thoroughly clean the potatoes. Scrub them well, and take off any blemishes or sprouts, and then dry them very well (wet potatoes just makes steam!).
Poke each potato 3-4 times on the “top” and “bottom” with a fork. I just choose an arbitrary top and bottom. Optional: Coat each potato with a thin layer of olive oil or coconut oil. I usually don’t do this step on sweet potatoes, but it does seem to make a difference on Russets. I’m half and half on doing it versus skipping it – based on how much time I have available.
Arrange in a baking dish – this will catch any drippings that ooze out of the holes (instead of using a cookie sheet) and bake for 30 minutes at 350F.
At the 30 minute mark, flip the potatoes over so the “bottom” is on top. At this point, depending on the size of your potato, you will need to bake it another 20-40 minutes. I set the timer for 20 minutes and then check it to see if they need to go longer. I usually end up cooking them for 1:05-1:10, but all ovens are different, so this will vary for you.
When the potatoes are soft (you can test one with a fork or even squeeze it with your oven-mitted hand), remove from the oven and let cool briefly. At this point, they will sort of shrivel down a bit, which is a good thing – that means you have cooked them well and they will sort of just fall out of the skin.
Here, I have added a dollop of almond butter to a sweet potato – the best way to eat one, I think!
If you are making up a big batch to use during the workweek, let them cool a good hour, and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat them – and I do see the irony here – microwave for about 2 minutes for a perfect potato every time!