Created on: February 05, 2013
Baked potatoes are incredibly versatile and the number of delicious ways in which they can be served is all but endless. Whether they are served with a little butter as a meal accompaniment, or with a tasty topping as a meal in their own right, baked potatoes need never be repetitive. It is important only in the first instance to choose a starchy variety of potato, as waxy potatoes do not bake well.
Tip for baking potatoes
It is unfortunate that sometimes — however careful you may be — a baked potato can come out of the oven either still hard in the middle or with the skin wrinkled and dry. A great idea for helping to avoid this is to push a metal skewer through the center of the potato length ways before cooking. This conducts the heat in to the center of the potato and helps it to cook evenly, ensuring the flesh is soft and fluffy and the skin is still more than edible. Do note that a wooden skewer does not do the same job. The potatoes should be baked at 400 degrees for an hour and a half to two hours, depending upon their size.
Quick and easy baked potato filling ideas
While the baked potato is in the oven, some of the time can be used very effectively to make a tasty and interesting filling. Simple butter and some shredded cheese can be great at times but a bit more imagination can pay huge dividends.
For two people, gently brown half a pound of ground beef in a dry pot. Season with salt and pepper and pour in a 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice, as well as the drained and rinsed red kidney beans from an 8 ounce can. Add a teaspoon of dried chili flakes and stir well. Bring to a simmer for half an hour and the topping is ready. Shredded cheddar cheese scattered over this topping after it is added to the baked potato works very well.
Put a tablespoon of mayo per person in to a bowl and two teaspoons per person of cooked and chopped shrimp. Chop a pineapple ring canned in its own juice for each serving and add that to the bowl with a little freshly chopped basil and a pinch of salt. Stir well to combine.
Combine two teaspoons of mayo per person, half a teaspoon of curry powder and quarter a cup of chopped, cooked and cooled chicken. Add a little freshly chopped cilantro and stir to form a very quick and easy curried baked potato topping.
A simple salsa can be a great topping for a baked potato. For two people, de-seed and moderately finely dice two medium tomatoes and a 3 inch piece of cucumber. Mix with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of chopped basil, a crushed garlic clove and salt and pepper. Spoon on to the baked potato and top with a teaspoon or so of soured cream.
Removing the potato from the oven
When the potato is done, the metal skewer should easily pull free. Using oven protecting gloves, lightly massage the potato, squeezing very gently. This helps the inside become softer and more fluffy. Cut the potato two-thirds of the way through, lengthways and across the way. Gently squeeze underneath to open up the quarters, add a little butter followed by the topping of choice and serve.
Learn more about this author, Gordon Hamilton.
Click here to send this author comments or questions.
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
Great ideas for making baked potatoes
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.