As most of you know, I’m not a huge fan of using the microwave for anything more than heating up a cup of tea. I mean I really don’t even like microwave popcorn. A billion years ago I was at a friend’s house for dinner where she said she would cook. Bonus! Right?! So I helped her prep the salad and she said “Time to make the baked potatoes” which what immediately followed was something just horrifying! Imagine the look on my face as she threw they gorgeous russets in the microwave and said “10 minutes and we’ll have baked potatoes”.
Um.. no.. that’s not baked. Zapped, Nuked, or heated maybe but definitely not baked. Like a gracious guest I kept my mouth shut and let her do her thing. I hate those people that throw their 2 cents in when it’s really not wanted. FORTUNATELY while we were eating she commented on how she can never get her potatoes to taste like restaurants. They are always just … bleh no matter how much butter/salt/sour cream that is thrown on it.
Then she looked at me with that “help me” face and I said “I can show you how to do it if you want”. See some people take offense to stuff like this which is odd. I mean you’re asking for help but yet when you offer suggestions they look at you like you’re evil. Fine.. call me evil but I can eat least make one mean baked potato in the oven 🙂 LOL
Fortunately she was all to appreciative of my showing her how to make these. We broke up the baking sheet, some tin foil, olive oil and salt. As she stood there, she just kept saying “is that it?” Nothing else?
I chuckled and just said “Sometimes simplicity is best in the kitchen. Think of the potato as your canvas. Once it’s done you can turn it into your masterpiece!” I explained that when you baked these you had two options – baking directly on the oven rack or on the pan. The real difference is you don’t have to flip the potatoes if you bake them on the rack. The drawback is that since they are covered in oil and salt, you have splatters and drips on to your oven that can either cause a fire or make it smoke. Plus the cleanup sucks.
About an hour later (her taters were ginormous!), we sat down to true baked potatoes. Her first bite and reaction was priceless! Folks I thought she was going to jump up from the other side of the table, pick me up, spin me around and kiss my forehead! LOL
She kept thanking me over and over for teaching her some kitchen voodoo magic (as she called it). I just laughed and said, no magic – just basics.
The following week she called me to tell me that she ate 10 pounds of potatoes herself! Yeah, I think I created a small obsession for her. LOL
Anyway, if someone offers to bake you a potato in the microwave, they are not your friend and you do not need that type of negativity in your life *wink*Print
- 1 Large Potato (per person) – I prefer the restaurant style baking potatoes myself
- Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 and place the rack in the middle.
- Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. – this is optional. You can cook eat potato directly on the rack but I highly recommend placing a lined cookie sheet on the rack below to catch the drippings.
- Scrub each potato with cool water, not hot!
- Dry the potatoes thoroughly with a paper towel.
- Using a fork, pierce each potato a good 4-5 times ensuring you go deep. If you don’t do this, the tater will explode… trust me on this! 🙂
- Slather each tater with oil ensuring it’s coated evenly.
- Sprinkle with Sea Salt.
- Either lay on the lined cookie sheet or the rack.
- Cook for roughly 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the potato.*
*Note: if you bake it on the sheet, flip them about every 20 minutes. Baking on the rack directly, you don’t have to flip.
Insert a fork or wooden skewer into the potato. It should go all the way in. The skin should be crisp and the flesh soft.
Now, as you notice, not once did I say “Wrap the potato in foil”. Don’t do it. Period… EVER! It’s not going to harm it but if you wrap the potato in foil it ends up “steaming” the potato rather than baking it. It’ll taste good but it’s be really, really soft and the skin will be just blah.
So back to my story above. About oh I don’t know a few weeks later we all got together. This time I helped her make the meal which included the potatoes using the above method. She was absolutely thrilled by the outcome as well as her guests. Stuff like this… that’s what makes me happy 🙂