Currently cooking from The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen.
I have a favorite way to bake potatoes (it’s actually smashed red potatoes that you brush with olive oil and then bake until the edges get crispy), but I was drawn to the picture of these potatoes in the book. Mine didn’t turn out nearly as pretty, but they tasted really good. I don’t know that I’ll give up my smashed potatoes in favor of this one, but it is nice to have a more elegant way to bake potatoes.
You start out by making a topping of bread crumbs, butter, Monterey Jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, paprika and garlic powder by melting the butter and mixing everything together. I made a few changes, mostly to save myself a shopping trip. First, I didn’t have bread, so instead of bread crumbs, I used panko. And I had just bought a chunk of cheddar cheese, so I used that instead of Monterey Jack cheese. The topping turned out fine, even with my changes.
On to the actual potatoes. You take four russets, slice them every quarter of an inch almost all the way through, then carefully wash them out, making sure to wash out the slices. This helps keep the potatoes from sticking together. Then, you precook the potatoes in the microwave; this way, they don’t spend two hours in the oven. Once the potatoes have softened in the microwave, you brush them with oil and bake them in a very hot oven (450 degrees) until they are completely tender and the skin has crisped up. Finally, you press on the topping and broil the potatoes until the topping is crisp.
These were very tasty, and I loved the topping. My only problem was that it was very hard to get the topping to stay on the potatoes. I had to really press the topping down and kind of squish it into the cuts, resulting in a few minor burns.
Of course I ate mine with sour cream, because everything is better with sour cream.
If you are bored with baked potatoes, this is an easy way to spice them up for not too much more work. They are also elegant enough to serve to company, say with a side of roast beef . . .