I have this friend Stacey, my oldest friend in the world, who I have literally known since we were babies–there’s a picture of us when I was six months old and she was a brand-new little thing and I was trying to steal her bottle. When Sara and I were traveling last fall, I was so excited to see her and her mom (and her sister Shelly, but she’s not in the picture).
I am not naked under my cardigan, I promise. I was 3 months postpartum, so nude public speaking was not high on my to-do list.
Every time I see Stacey and her family, we talk and laugh and then at some point in the conversation, someone shares the tale of when Stacey and I were 8 and we went to dinner at a [fancy for Logan, Utah] restaurant. The server was asking everyone what they wanted with their meal, and all the adults and all the kids and all the almost-adult-kids enthusiastically ordered fries. Until they got to me. And I primly replied, “I’d like the baked potato.” I really don’t think I was that fancy of a kid, I just liked the sour cream and bacon… 🙂
I love me a baked potato. Crispy skin, tender, fluffy insides, what’s not to love?
I will tell you what’s not to love: a gummy, dense, yucky baked potato.
I’ve always subscribed to the rub-’em-down-with-shortening-and-bake-at-400-until-done method, but I recently saw this method in my copy of America’s Test Kitchen Best Recipes and Reviews 2013 and I was intrigued. I immediately thought of the baked potatoes from Outback (say what you will, haters, those things are good!)
You’re going to need 4 medium russet potatoes, 2 sprigs (plus a few leaves) of rosemary, a whole head of garlic, 4 teaspoons olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups of kosher salt. Yes, that’s 2 1/2 cups of kosher salt. Just in case you’re wondering, that’s a lot of salt. Have faith, chickens.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Wash the potatoes and pat them dry with a paper towel. Pour the salt into a 9×13″ baking dish.
Arrange the potatoes on top of the salt, kind of nestling the potatoes into the salt (but don’t worry about burying or covering the potatoes with salt). Make sure the potatoes aren’t touching. Then add the sprigs of rosemary. Slice top off of the bulb of garlic and add that to the salt (cut side up).
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Your house will smell like heaven, I am not kidding you (just in case you didn’t know, the smell of rosemary and roasting garlic makes me swoon).
When the potatoes are done cooking, remove the pan from the oven. Turn the oven up to 500. Carefully remove the foil and remove the head of garlic from the pan. Brush each potato with 1 teaspoon of oil. When the oven is heated, place the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are baking at 500, combine 4 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary, and the entire head of garlic–just squeeze it straight from the papery skins into the butter. Add a little salt to taste, especially if you’re using unsalted butter. Set aside.
When the potatoes are done baking, remove from the oven and serve with the roasted garlic rosemary butter. Resist any temptation to nibble on the rosemary that you roasted. You will be sad. Not speaking from any firsthand experience here.
The verdict? Incredible baked potatoes. I personally think the skins are delicious–crispy and salty and kind of like potato skin chips (like there is such a thing). And the insides are fluffy and flavorful and sweet. The rosemary butter in the potato is incredible, but you could also omit the whole rosemary/roasted garlic step altogether if you just want to do the whole butter/sour cream/bacon/whatever else you put on potatoes thing.
Salt Baked Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Rosemary
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen
4 medium russet potatoes, washed and patted dry
2 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 head garlic, the top sliced off
2 sprigs rosemary, plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 450. Place the salt in a 9×13″ pan. Press the potatoes down into the salt, making sure they’re not touching. Add the sprigs of rosemary and the head of garlic, cut side up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
When the potatoes have baked for 1 hour, remove the pan from the oven and remove the head of garlic. Turn the oven to 500. Brush each potato with 1 teaspoon olive oil and return to the hot oven, uncovered. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are baking, combine the butter, 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, and then squeeze out the whole head of garlic into the butter and stir to combine. Serve the hot potatoes with the rosemary butter (although if you’d rather serve it with more traditional toppings, you can omit the garlic/rosemary step altogether).
Does the garlic flavor the potatoes at all or is it just to use in the butter.
See comment 4.1. 🙂
Can you save the salt and use it again, or is this a one time deal? They look so good I can’t wait to try them.
My husband loves baked potatoes. He ordered one from Applebee’s once. When it was served, he said “this is not a baked potato.” The server was perplexed because it looked like a baked potato. Bud then asked if it was baked in an actual oven. The server was new and went to check. Upon returning, he had to confess that the kitchen did not even have an oven on the premises. So much for baked.
Your baked potato looks ah-maze-zing!
Thanks for posting this. Just yesterday I was wanting a good baked potato recipe, looks good. I still don’t get why all that salt is needed.
My kiddos recently discovered and love Wendy’s baked potatoes so this is a gem!! Thank You!!
This sounds good! Thank you for sharing it!
this looks delish! I always love a delicious potato! thanks for the idea
After removing the garlic & rosemary and rubbing down with oil, you put the potatoes back in the pan with salt and into the oven right? Wasn’t sure if its solo or with the salt.
Yep–you don’t even need to take the potatoes out of the salt, just brush the tops with oil and then pop the pan back in the oven. Hope that helps! 🙂
Yum!!! This sounds delicious! I love all your food. CAn’t wait to try it
I think this recipe takes the next step from a recipe I use from Veggie Venture. That one cooks the potato at 350 degrees for 3 hours. The skin is crisp and the potato fluffy. The only thing I do to that is after cleaning them, I rub EVOO over them and sprinkle kosher salt all over them. Really good, but I need that 3 hr timeline and sometimes I don’t have it. Going to try yours, I can taste and smell it now.
That’s exactly how I was taught by my gran. She was the best cook I ever met, but these may be quicker. I am just scared without the OO they won’t be crispy enough…
These look wonderful! We take a stick and a half of butter, one package of “real” bacon bits and a bunch of fresh chives and melt together in a small saucepan to put on our taters. Might try and combine the two!
Oooh, yum! Wondering if the technique would work on sweet potatoes?!
Not a fan of russets in general, but for this, I may have to give in and try it. 🙂
these potoes look so good love all your suff on here and love how you are all sister Bless everyone of you and your familysssssssssssssssssss sending you HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSfrom Canada Ont
Ooo, a big old baked potato with all the fun stuff on it sounds like a great idea for dinner. I’ve never made them this way so tonight is as good a time as any to try something new 🙂
Oh Kate … It’s been so fun reading your posts and trying out the amazing recipes here… This is one of my favorites so far because of the mention of some of my favorite people in the whole world …. So great to see what wonderful things my former friends and neighbors are doing with their lives … A visit to your blog is now part of my daily routine …. The Anderson family “gems” indeed!!! Glad to know you all and call you friends!!! Thanks Kate !! Great things have sure come out of the old Logan 8th ward 🙂
Helen! It’s so good to “see” you and I’m so glad you said hi! Hope you’re doing well! 🙂
Thanks Kate … I’m loving all the marvelous new recipes I’ve been reading here, I just recently started reading food blogs (it’s how I pass the time while I nurse my baby .. #7)… My family thanks you for the variety that has been added to their lives… Even getting the teenagers more involved in cooking…. Last Sunday my daughter made the Sunday slow cooker stew… It was awesome !!! We’ve tried plenty of others we love too!!!
I’ve wanted to try those ever since I saw that on the show! Thanks for being the brave one to try it first. 🙂 Now I can’t wait to try it!
Oh I saw this on American’s Test Kitchen and even though I usually jump right into their recipes, the huge amount of salt held me back. So glad to hear it works. Thanks for this post, I am going to give it a try!
I saw these in CI a while back and wondered if they were really good. Now that I know they are (according to you), I will have to make them myself.
I too love baked potatoes. I cannot wait to try this! Thanks!
Oh my, those sound and look wonderful! I’m sure that they will make it on my menu this week! Thanks!
I have made these a LOT–they are SO good. My husband even asks specifically to have them prepared this way. I don’t use Kosher salt to bake them, tho. I buy sea salt in bulk (it’s like $0.30/lb.) and use that instead. It works just as well.
I have made these twice since seeing the episode on ATK. The potatoes are wonderful tasting, but I have yet to get the crispy skin. Mine stays soft. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I am trying it again today.
Hmmmm, that’s really interesting! Mine weren’t like old baseball mitt leather, like he describes them, but they’re definitely crispy!
You might check the tempature of your oven to make sure it isn’t a little cool. In my experience potatoes can be very particular to tempature (and I grew up in a home where 3 to 5 diners a week were baked potatoes). You might just have to wait 10 more minutes or turn the tempature up that last little bit.
So for those of us who only have regular old table salt in bounds and bounds, do you think it would work to just use it?
He says you can, so you should be fine! 🙂 I just like the flavor of kosher or sea salt so much more.
Oh Kate, you always crack me up with your little asides and tangents! I didn’t notice that you looked naked under the cardigan until you pointed it out. lol! Thanks for the recipe;I love baked potatoes too, and these sound amazing!
Haha! Me too, Melody. Then I couldn’t stop looking at it and laughing my head off!
These sound heavenly!! I’m a CARB person for sure!!! LOL Thanks for sharing..printing out the recipe now! 🙂
Do you think you could save the salt and re-use for potatoes again?
YES. You can strain the salt and use it again. That said, a good portion of my salt was pretty messed up by the time I was done. But salt is salt, right? 🙂
That was my exact same question! LOL I love baked potatoes, but microwaved always kinda make me sad, so I can see me having this huge jar in my cupboard labled “Potato Baking Salt – Back off heathens” (so my husband doesn’t try to cook w/ it, or someting)
Was that the bluebird in Logan? Love that place!
These will go great with what I was making tonight, thanks!
Oh, I LOVE the Bluebird. I’m almost positive it was Juniper Inn.
My guess was going to be The Coppermill. Lol
My guess was The Bluebird, too — love that place! Sadly, the Juniper Inn is no more. 🙁
Do you have to poke the potatoes with a fork or something? I’ve never baked a potato without doing that before… I’m too afraid they would explode (just like in Farmer Boy, for all you Little House fans out there).
This looks delicious, by the way!
Ha!! Nope, no poking required. I give my “scientific” hypotheses all the time at home and I’m usually at least semi-wrong, so I’ll refrain here, but I think it has something to do with the salt and the moisture.
Dang. These look good. Can’t wait to try!