Baked potatoes sometimes get the brush off when being contemplated for a meal. Though they are full of nutrition, many people only think of hiding the healthy spud under loads of sour cream, bacon and cheese. However, enjoying the natural taste of a baked potato, enhanced by some olive oil and sea salt, will make you think twice about covering it with other ingredients.
You Say Po-tay-to
Probably the most commonly used potato for baking is the russet potato, thanks to its starch and thick skin. Sweet potatoes and red potatoes are also good for baking. The russet potato touts about half of the daily value of vitamin C, boasts more potassium than spinach, bananas or broccoli, and is also a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, folate, iron and magnesium. Choose organic potatoes, whenever possible. Leave the skin on the potato when baking, both for its nutritional value and to hold the potato together.
I Say Po-tah-to
Baking a potato with olive oil and sea salt creates a crispier exterior to the potato. It also adds subtle flavor. Extra virgin olive oil is pressed olives, without additives, yielding a fruity, bitter and pungent flavor. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids: a heart-healthy fat. Sea salt is salt created from evaporated salt water that has gone through minimal processing, unlike table salt. Sea salt is a better choice because not only does it not have additives, it still contains minerals beneficial to good health.
Choose uniform potatoes, if you are baking more than one at a time. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub your potatoes under cool water to rid them of any dirt; pat them dry with a paper towel. Pierce the potatoes with a fork or knife to allow steam to escape from the inside. Place the potatoes, one at a time, in a plastic bag or bowl. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the potato and roll it around until the entire potato is covered. Transfer the potato to your baking dish and sprinkle it with sea salt. Alternatively, place the potato in a shallow bowl of sea salt and roll it around until it is lightly coated. Bake the potatoes in the oven for approximately one hour, or until the skins have turned crispy and the inside, when gently pierced with a knife, is tender. For additional flavor, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt over the flesh of the potato after you have cut it open.
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
Potatoes should be blemish-free and not have any sprouts nor have a green tint. Green or sprouted potatoes contain high levels of solanine, which can cause serious illness if consumed. Solanine poison is found throughout the potato plant but is concentrated in green potatoes and the sprouts of potatoes. Throw away green or spoiled potatoes. Remove any sprouts before cooking your potato.