Monday, February 14, 2011

Baked Potatoes

2 servings
Preparation 5 minutes
Cooking 1 hour

230 calories per serving

2 potatoes, Russet or Idaho type
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter, unsalted
2 green onions/scallions, chopped
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

Oblong-shaped Russet or Idaho potatoes are the ones to use in this recipe because their high starch content yields a fluffy baked potato.

Potatoes may be either baked in a traditional oven, or cooked in a microwave, the choice being a matter of personal preference.  Baking is longer, but yields a crusty skin.

Baking method:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Clean the potatoes, then prick them a few times with a fork to allow the humidity to escape without bursting the skin while cooking.  Coat the potatoes with the oil, sprinkle with salt, then bake them in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour, depending on the size of the potatoes.  The baking time could be slightly reduced by wrapping each potato individually in aluminum foil, since the heat trapped inside would help cooking.  The result would be a softer skin and a moist flesh.

Microwave method:  Clean the potatoes, then prick them a few times with a fork and place them on a paper towl in the microwave.  The cooking time at maximum power is about 8 minutes for one potato, depending on the size of the potato and the ower of the oven.  The cooking time must be increased when more than one potato is cooked at the sme time.  Turn the potatoes once at the halfway point if the oven does not have a turntable.  Let the potatoes stand 2 minutes, wrapped in paper towels before serving.

Garnish:  Halve the potatoes lengthwise, scoop out the flesh using a spoon, paying attention not to damage the "shells".  Mash the flesh in a bowl, stir in the butter and chopped scallions.  Season with salt andpepper, then put the mixture back into the skins.  Place the potatoes back into the over under the top broiler for 2-3 minutes until they are warm and slightly golden-coloured.

Alternatively, the broiling step can be skipped and the halved potatoes may be just garnished and served right away.

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