Quick Baked Potatoes


I love baked potatoes, but they take so long to cook. Potatoes need an hour (or more) to be tender in the middle with a crisp, crackling skin. Weeknight baked potatoes? Out of the question.

That changed one afternoon as I drove back from lunch. Jacques Pepin was on the radio, chatting about his new cookbook. Jacques is an encyclopedia of cooking tips, and he had a great time sharing them with the host of the show.

Then came the tip that nearly ran me off the road. His baked potatoes are done in thirty minutes or less. What?
*At this point, I remembered the yellow lines on the road are for my safety, and the safety of all those other cars around me...

Thirty minutes? How? Jacques microwaves the potatoes while his oven pre-heats, giving them a head start. The result is perfect baked potatoes in half the time they normally take.

That was seven years ago; I have used the microwave technique ever since. Now, I'm almost ashamed to share this; it's barely a recipe. One ingredient, two steps. And I'm stretching to make it two steps. But I'll get over my shame. This is too useful a technique.

Recipe: Quick Baked Potatoes


Adapted From: Jacques Pepin, Fast Food My Way

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 small russet potatoes (6-8 ounces each)

Directions:

1. Start potatoes in Microwave:
Turn oven to 425*F. Wash the potatoes, then poke each one three times with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high for 6 minutes.

2. Finish potatoes in oven:
Transfer the potatoes to the oven, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the skin feels crisp when a potato is squeezed. Remove from the oven and immediately cut a slice the top of the potato to let the steam escape. Squeeze from the ends to fluff up, and serve.

Variations:

Large potatoes, 12 to 16 ounces: microwave for 8 to 10 minutes before transferring to the oven, and bake for 25 minutes.

Notes:

*Salt and pepper the potatoes once they are split open. Garnish with one or more of: shredded cheese, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, jalapenos. Or a pat of butter. Or, my favorite, a pan sauce from sauteed pork chops.

*Find good, clean potatoes for this recipe. Baked potatoes work best when they're whole. The skin traps the steam inside, making the inside fluffy and tender. If you have to remove bruises or eyes, then the steam will escape, and the potatoes won't bake as well.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Basic White Rice
Orzo Pilaf

Adapted from:

Jacques Pepin, Fast Food My Way


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5 comments:

BBQandBrew said...

That is a great idea. I have been doing something similar for a few year for homefries and "grill" fries. I cube or slice the potatoes, microwave them until mostly cooked, and brown them in a pan on the grill. When grilling I will slice a large potato 1/2" thick or halve a new potato. I toss them with some oil and seasonings. They take only a few minutes on the grill to brown.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@BBQandBrew:

Exactly! I've been using the same trick with my rotisserie drip pan potatoes for years...it's just that I never got around to the recipe that taught me the trick.

Jim said...

I've been doing baked potatoes like this for years.  I drizzle EVOO on the potatoes and sprinkle with Kosher salt before I seal up the foil.  Makes for tasty skin.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I'm too lazy to take that extra step of wrapping in foil. :) I eat the inside of the potato, then add som butter or gravy and salt at the table. Mmmm....

Brandi said...

With two 4 year old boys I have 15-20 minutes total from the time we get home to when at least the first of the food has to be hitting the table to avoid riots. So these days I cook the potatoes end to end in the microwave. Wash, stab, drop in a ziploc bag (to keep them moist?) and hit the potatoe button. Done in 7-10 minutes. And as I like to have the veggies on the plate first (when the kids are most hungry and most willing to at least try anything) they are done in no time.

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