Get ready, ye who fear the kitchen… It rarely gets easier (and yummier) than this.
For me, baked potatoes invariably taste better when I eat out. Why? Because they’re BAKED. I grew up on microwaved potatoes, which make complete sense when time is at a premium. Oven time is essential, though, for soft, evenly cooked potatoes. Crispy skins are an added bonus.
Last night, I made All-American Baked Potatoes from the September 2007 issue of Everyday Food. I started by scrubbing my potatoes, pricking them all over with a fork, and then rubbing them with olive oil and salt. (I like Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt best.) While they baked for an hour at 400 F, I cubed a quarter pound of ham (2 minutes), thawed a cup of frozen peas (2 minutes), and conned Dr. O into shredding the Monterey Jack (0 minutes).
When the hour was up, I cut a cross into each potato, pushed the sides together, and topped them off:
Holy smokes, these potatoes were good. Add a side salad, and dinner is done. The recipe in the magazine actually has three other flavor combinations – Scandinavian, Tex-Mex, and Italian – and they all look fantastic. Let me know if you try one!
TIPS: Whenever I need to cube ham for a recipe, I ask the person at the deli counter at my grocery store to cut one thick slice, shooting for the amount (weight) of meat I need. If you tell them you plan to cube it, they usually get the idea.
Recipe link: All-American Baked Potatoes