The foolproof way to bake a potato so that it is crispy on the outside and fluffy within.
Potatoes are powerhouses of nutrition and like eggs, come in a complete package, especially if you eat the skin. Top them with spicy baked beans and blue cheese and you have a healthy lunch or supper dish. You’ll find more ideas below.
4 large baking potatoes
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place the potatoes directly on the baking rack in the oven. There is no need to pierce them (they won’t explode, we promise, it’s a myth).
2. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the potatoes are golden on the outside and soft inside. To check if they are cooked, prod them with a sharp knife or skewer, making sure to check each one (the larger ones take longer and it can be hard to find potatoes of equal size to cook). If you are unsure, remove a little piece from the centre and see if it is soft.
Ideas for stuffing baked potatoes
– Fill baked potatoes with hot baked beans, grated smoked Gouda and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.
– Stuff the potato with fresh grilled or cold tinned tuna mixed with mayonnaise, finely chopped spring onion and sweetcorn.
– Spoon warm Bolognese sauce over the baked potato, top with chilli sauce or jelly (try Harty’s Jellies, they are Irish-made), sour cream and grated Parmesan.
– Scoop out the inside of the potato and mix with sour cream or crème fraîche and a teaspoon of mustard. Return the mixture to the potato shell, top with grated Cheddar and grill until the cheese bubbles delightfully.
– Buy whole cooked beetroot, cut it into small cubes and mix with sour cream, a spoon of horseradish sauce and serve on top of the potatoes with a spoonful of fake caviar or Greek taramsolata.
– Mix flaked smoked fish (trout or mackerel would be lovely or use the old reliable, smoked salmon) with mayonnaise and chopped capers. Spoon over the potatoes. (Remove any bones in the fish first).