Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Perfect Baked Potato

I've been baking potatoes like this for years now; I'm not even sure where the original idea came from. The Guardian recently ran a piece where they tried various different cooking methods and compared the results; my method is apparently the same as the BBC's, so maybe that's where I read it first. It is as follows:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C;
  2. Wash the potato if needed, then dry thoroughly;
  3. De-eye;
  4. Prick all over: I use one of those little sweetcorn holders but a fork will do;
  5. Put 1/2 tsp of table or flaked salt in the palm of your non-writing hand;
  6. Pour 1tsp of vegetable oil on top of the salt;
  7. Roll the potato round and around through the oil and salt, using the tips of your writing hand;
  8. Open the oven door, pop it on the top shelf without a tray;
  9. Wash hands and come back in 1hr 15 minutes, by which point the potato will be crisp on the outside and meltingly fluffy on the inside.

I know the instructions are patronising; who could possibly forget to prick or de-eye the potato before covering it in oil, or get both hands covered in oil and finding it rather messy to open the oven door...? Well - me for starters :) I've recorded my mistakes so you don't have to repeat them!

Tonight for a topping, I flaked a large mackerel fillet into a bowl, added 1 tbsp of capers, a dollop of mayonnaise, 2 tbsp of shredded parsley, the juice of 1/3rd of a lemon, and a good grating of black pepper. I love the contrast between the cool topping and the steaming-hot potato. The above method makes a delicious crispy skin and on particularly decadent occasions, I save this until last and top with grated cheddar, making it a two-course meal!

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