Sometimes a simple baked potato can steal the attention of an entire dish – but only when it is done absolutely perfectly. If you take a little extra time to prepare your potatoes before baking, your efforts will be repaid tenfold.
The very first step is to use the best potato variety for baking. These are Dutch Cream, Desiree, Coliban or Sebago. Now that you have the right spud, here’s three classic ways to perfectly prepare baked potatoes:
1. Classic Sunday Roast Potatoes
This one is all about butter.
Preheat oven to 220ºC with a roasting pan inside. Peel and cut your potatoes into largish 6-8cm chunks. Make sure all your potatoes are cut roughly the same size so they all cook at the same rate. Set a large pot of salted water to boil and par boil your potatoes on medium high boil for 8-10 minutes (check with a fork – if the fork goes in easy they are done). Drain and add back to the pot.
Now, for every 500gms of potatoes, add in 100gms of butter cut into small chunks. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the lid back on and swirl around the butter to coat all the potatoes. Pour these slightly bruised and buttery potatoes into your super hot roasting pan then place back into the oven to crisp up. It should take around 45 minutes to become golden and crunchy.
2. Crispy skin oven baked potatoes
This one is all about patience.
Pre-heat your oven to 190ºC. Wash and dry your potatoes and dry them very well with a cloth or paper towel. Prick the skin all over with a fork. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on and rub all over the skin. Next, rub some salt onto the skin (a good half tablespoon per potato). Then place your potatoes onto the centre rack of your oven and bake for ~2 hours. Test their crispiness with a fork so you remove them when they are absolutely perfect. To serve cut in half lengthwise and fluff the insides with a fork. Butter and/or sour cream and chives optional.
3. Hasselback potatoes
This one is all about technique.
For 5-6 potatoes you will need ½ cup olive oil, 100gms butter (melted). Preheat the oven to 230ºC. Stir together the butter, olive oil, and some salt and pepper to taste. Slice a small piece off what you think is the flattest side of the potato so it will sit neatly on your chopping board without rolling. Next, slice the short side making 4mm cuts all the way along the potato, leaving half a centimetre at the bottom so the potato holds together (see main pic above). Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and brush on the butter mixture, making sure to get in between all the slices. Make sure you do this a few times and use as much of the mixture as you can. Bake under crisp, which will take around one hour. Allow for some extra cooking time to allow for the differences in your oven, but keep an eye on them after the one hour mark.
Now you know how to prepare the most perfect baked potatoes possible, and in 3 different ways.