Easy Oven Baked Whole Potatoes

“Not everyone can be a truffle. Most of us are potatoes. And a potato is a very good thing to be.” 
~ Massimo Bottura

I love baked potatoes. They go well as a side dish for barbeques and salads, but you can also load them up with toppings and have them as a meal on their own.

The potatoes are quick to prepare but need around an hour to cook. It’s well worth it. The end result is a chewy crispy crust and a fluffy steaming interior, ready for a dab of butter and some chopped herbs or whatever else is your pleasure.

They’re also delicious cold and chopped into a salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato per person
  • olive oil
  • salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to hot – about 200 degrees celcius or 400 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Line a baking tray with foil.
  3. Cut out any blemishes from the potatoes, wash with water and pat dry with a cloth or paper towel.
  4. Prick the potatoes several times with a fork or skewer. This helps steam escape.
  5. Rub the potatoes all over with olive oil. Place on the tray and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Place in the oven and cook an hour minutes, turning once or twice during that time. Check doneness with a fork or skewer. It should be tender inside. Bigger potatoes may take longer to cook through.
  7. Eat with gusto!

Great toppings for your baked potatoes:

Tip: If you use cheese as a topping consider popping filled potatoes under a hot grill or back into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese!

  • Sour cream, butter or yoghurt and some chopped fresh herbs
  • Guacamole and salsa
  • Cooked bacon, cheese and chives
  • Baked beans, a fried egg and some cheddar cheese
  • Pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese
  • Basil, fetta cheese, red onion and sliced black olives
  • Leftovers smothered in cheese
  • Ham, tomato and cheese
  • Bean salad and dressing
  • Hummus, sliced red onion and some rocket (arugula)
  • Baba ganoush, a dollop of yoghurt and some fresh mint

Hasselback Potatoes? Opera House Potatoes? Best Ever Baked Potato Recipe!

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“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”
~ Alan Watts

 

When I was little my grandmother used to cook these potatoes when we visited for Sunday Roast, only she didn’t call them Hasselback potatoes. Marga called them Opera House Potatoes, because according to her they looked like miniature Sydney Opera Houses. But hey, it was the seventies, and we were a culturally proud nation! It wasn’t until my mid thirties that I found out these potatoes were also known by another name…

I love these easy baked potatoes. They have a delightfully crispy outside, but the inside of the potato is soft and creamy. On Christmas Day I thought I had cooked enough for an army, and we only ended up with two as leftovers for Boxing Day. That’s how good they are!

Here’s what you need to do to make them yourself:

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes suitable for roasting (check here for good roasting varieties) I like washed varieties that I can leave the skin on, because it’s easier and tastier. Favourites include Desiree, Nicola and Golden Delight, or Pink Eye when I can get them.
  • Olive Oil (or your fat of choice)
  • Salt

How do you work out how many potatoes to cook? I would decide on an amount per person, and then bake extra. Seriously. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have leftovers, and that’s actually a happy situation as they are delicious cold too.

Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (170 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Wash your potatoes and pat dry. Peel if they need peeling.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthways. Place cut side on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any moisture.

Using a sharp knife cut a series of slits in the potato, being careful not to cut all the way through. Leave about an uncut centimetre at the bottom of every potato to hold the potato together.

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Rub each potato well with olive oil and place onto a baking tray. I like to use a piece of baking paper to line my trays because it makes cleaning up easier.

Sprinkle with a little salt.

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Bake for one hour or until crispy on the outside and soft and well-cooked on the inside.

Serve with just about anything!

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Variations: You can happily sprinkle cheese, herbs or bacon on top of these spuds before baking, or when serving.

Here’s the finished product.

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Rustic Potato Bake Recipe

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“Look at that moon. Potato weather for sure.” 
~ Thornton Wilder, Our Town

I love cooking, and not surprisingly most of our visitors seem to end up dropping in around meal times. This creamy potato bake is easy to make (like all my recipes!) and I whipped this one up to feed the extra hungry mouths that ended up sitting at my table last night.

One of my favourite things in the whole world is friends sharing food, laughing and chatting around the dinner table.  The buzz around here right now is who’ll be performing at Bluesfest, and whether it will be rain, mud and gumboots – or sunshine and clear skies.

But enough of music.  Back to the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 x onion, 2 to 4 x large potatoes, 1 x big golden sweet potato, 300ml cream (1 and a 1/4 cups heavy cream for my American friends), 2 x fat cloves of garlic – crushed, 1 teaspoon of vegetable stock powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling water, 1 tablespoon of plain flour or gluten-free flour if needed, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and a little butter.

When you’re working out quantities, use your eyes!  Allow around 1 decent sized potato or sweet potato/sweet potato chunk per person. Aim for about one cup of vegetable for each adult.  This recipe serves 4 to 6 people as a side dish.  However, 2 hungry people have been known to devour this dish on its own on a cold rainy night at the farm…

Method:

Uee the butter to grease an oven-proof dish big enough to fit your raw ingredients!  Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Thinly slice your potato (if clean no need to peel), sweet potato and onion. Layer the potato, sweet potato and onion into the dish, scattering some cheese in the middle.  Keep a little onion over for the top of the bake. Give a grind of pepper as you go.

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Finish by mixing the cream, milk, stock, garlic and flour together.  The easiest way to do this is in a lidded jar or drink shaker.  Pour the mixture over your potatoes and sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top. Now grate on some fresh nutmeg and a little more pepper.

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Bake for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.  The cooking time will vary based on how thick your potato slices are and how deep your dish is – shallow dish or thin slices means it will cook faster.  Deep dish or fat slices will cook slower.

Note: if the top is browning too quickly cover with foil

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This dish goes well with barbecued or roast meats, salads and vegetables.  It can be jazzed up with fresh herbs, different cheeses and bacon.  I also throw in some capsicum (bell pepper) now and again, and swap the nutmeg for smoked paprika.

It reheats well, but is also tasty cold. If you are lucky enough to have left overs…

* To make a delicious vegan version use 1 heaped teaspoon of your favourite curry paste to flavour instead of the cheese, and substitute soy milk or coconut milk for the dairy.