WOW! Does the photo even do this culinary work of art justice?!
Let me start at the beginning…
So, I belong to an informal book group. You know, the kind where a handful of us shows up faithfully, mostly for the drinks, dinner, and laughter. And if some of us, ahem, don’t finish the book, there is no judgment. Even I’m amazed that we can now say we’ve been doing this monthly gathering for years. (I didn’t think I had that kind of commitment in me, honestly.)
Anyway, fast-forward to last month: I announced that I would host the next one at my small NYC apartment. And, I also said it would be a BAKED POTATO PARTY. I figured it would be an economical and tasty way to feed many mouths, kind of like a Taco Night, but with potatoes. The idea would be that I would bake all the potatoes and each person could bring a topping.
But then I got to thinking, “Hmm…what is the BEST way to bake a potato? I’m not going to just nuke 12 potatoes one-by-one…”
I did an online search, and found an old friend: ATK (America’s Test Kitchen). So now, I’m going to share with you what I did to get the fluffiest potato meat and crispy outside EVER! Well, for me, anyway.
Pump Mama’s Take on ATK’s (America’s Test Kitchen) Baked Potato Recipe
Brine, in a large mixing bowl
(water and salt)
Pastry Brush or Paper Towel
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Make a brine: fill your mixing bowl with water. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt. Stir to dissolve the salt.
3. Prick each potato all over with a fork so the potatoes don’t explode.
(ATK says that they never actually saw this happen, but pricked theirs anyway. If it’s good enough for ATK, it’s good enough for me!)
4. Dunk each potato into the brine. You can wait as little as one minute to many minutes. I’ve only done 1-2 minute dunks with my batches.
5. Place your now-dunked-in-brine potatoes onto your baking sheet. Put in oven!
6. Bake until your potatoes are about 212 degrees F inside. That’s about an hour-ish.
7. Remove the potatoes and brush olive oil onto the potato skins.
8. Bake for another 10 minutes.
9. ATK says that the time between cutting open the potatoes and eating them should be short. If you wait too long to make the slits, the potato meat could become gummy or icky. I served/ate mine within minutes of removing them from the oven, if that helps.
10. Serve and enjoy!
Toppings at Pump Mama’s Table
For nostalgia, one guest brought BacoBits. LOL.