Last night, my DH asked, "How do you cook a baked potato?" I froze.
Here's how the conversation went down. (For background, this is for Poker Night's menu of deviled eggs, barbecue bakers, and banana pudding. Women are banned.)
DH: What kind of potatoes should I buy? Me: The biggest ones at the grocery store. (Couldn't think of one potato name. Russet? Yukon? Nope, none of them came to mind.)
DH: What temperature? ME: 350, 400, 425 degrees--just until they're done. (This elicited an, "Are you going to help me or not?" response.)
DH: In foil, right? ME: Oh, no. That steams them and makes them mealy. DH: When I go over to people's houses, they're always in foil. ME: Really? I've never cooked them in foil.
.....the conversation went on for awhile. And then, because I'm a total geek and humiliated by my lack-of-baked-potato-confidence, I started searching online about the best way to cook a baked potato. Turns out, it's a very polarizing topic--Who knew?
From my research, here are some of the best ways to cook a baked potato.
1. Scrub with a brush to clean--but not too hard.
2. Rub with olive oil (or melted butter). Then roll with sea salt or garlic mixture. Here's a rock salt method too.
3. Potatoes really do blow up if you don't prick them with a fork or knife (but just a few times or they're more likely to dry out).
4. If you microwave for 3-4 minutes per potato and then oven bake, it'll bake faster. Or, microwave and then put in the oven to get the skin crispy. The combo-cooking method is popular.
5. Baking at 400 degrees for 60 minutes seems the most common baking time. However, 350 was the runner-up. (See Alton Brown's Basic Baked Potato Recipe Recipe.)
6. Loaded baked potatoes are a great--and cheap--way to feed a crowd. (Seriously, this Poker Night menu is ultra cheap. Shopping list is basically eggs, potatoes, meat for slow-cooker bbq, instant pudding, bananas, and Nila Wafers.) For variations, check out 5-to-Try: Baked Potatoes.
So, what have I missed? Are you a die-hard microwaver or oven purist? Do share. I'm now obsessed.