When order baked potato in a restaurant, it’s often served with the potato peeking from a wrapper of aluminum foil, with the potato partially scraped and fluffed. A garnish of sour cream and chopped chives is the usual accompaniment.
However, for the home cook, preparing baked potatoes that way could be time-consuming. Instead of wrapping the potatoes in foil individually, it would be easier to arrange them on a large platter, with a bed of salt to cushion them. Then just have everyone help themselves. The bed of salt adds texture to the presentation, gives the potatoes a rustic look and makes them more mouthwatering.
Another trick: Don’t bother cooking the potatoes in your large oven. A microwave oven can bake the potatoes in less than half the time.
To finish the dish: Sprinkle the potatoes with chopped parsley and additional salt. Serve the potatoes with steaks, hamburgers, pork chops and roasted chicken.
Salted Baked Potatoes
4 medium to large potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 c coarse sea salt
2 tbsp chopped parsley
¼ c melted butter
Scrub the potatoes clean and rinse them under running water. Do not peel. Pat the potatoes dry. With the tines of a fork, prick the potatoes in several places. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with some of the sea salt.
Pour the remaining sea salt into a microwave-safe dish, enough to form a layer about ¼-inch thick. Arrange the potatoes on top of the salt. Microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Slice the potatoes lengthwise in half. Scrape the salt in the microwave dish (by this time the salt would have hardened a bit) and reserve about two teaspoons. Transfer the remaining salt to a large serving platter. Arrange the halved potatoes on top of the salt. Mix the two teaspoons salt with the chopped parsley and sprinkle over the potatoes.
If desired, serve with melted butter.
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Be sure to use coarse salt. Refined salt will not provide the needed texture.
To test if the potatoes are tender, prick them with a fork. They should yield easily.
Instead of parsley, you can use chopped chives, basil leaves or oregano.