This is something I love – taking an ordinary, everyday ingredient like a potato and elevating it to sublime deliciousness. And all it takes is a few pounds of salt and an oven.
Plan ahead. That’s what I’m asking you to do because you have to try this method for baking potatoes. They take at least an hour to reach perfection and you’ll also have to stock up on the salt, but I promise it’s worth it. Paired with rosemary butter, these potatoes become a simple meal all by themselves.
Yes, anyone can stick a potato in the microwave and have a “baked” potato in minutes. But there really is a difference using this method. It turns out that burying potatoes in a bed of hot salt makes them steam in the moisture they exude as they bake, so they turn out moist, fluffy and cooked evenly all the way through; simple, earthy and elemental all at once.
2 pounds coarse crystal sea salt
4 Yukon Gold or Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
4 tablespoons butter
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Salt to taste
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread about a ½-inch deep layer of salt on the bottom of an 8 x12-inch heavy casserole dish or baking pan. Nestle the potatoes in the salt, then pour the remaining salt evenly all around the potatoes (a portion of their tops will be uncovered).
- Bake for about an hour, then poke the potatoes with a skewer to test doneness. They might need up to 30 additional minutes before they’re tender.
- Soften the butter in a microwave on half power for 30 seconds. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the rosemary.
- Make a slit down the center of each potato and top each with a tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and additional rosemary if desired.