Jacket potatoes

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The secret of perfect jacket potatoes like the one described above is not to hurry them – give them up to 2 hours to get the really crunchy skin, learn to use the time when you’re out, so they can be ready when you come home, or go and do something else and forget about them till they’re ready. Another clue to the perfect jacket potato lies in the name – any old baked potato can have a delectably fluffy interior, but it takes real skill to achieve that wonderfully crunchy skin. It’s not something which can be rushed, which is presumably why most high-street potatoes are such damp squibs: this is a treat best cooked at home.Jacket potatoes are the ultimate winter convenience food. They’re popular with everyone from hearty outdoors types who can knock up a campfire in less time than it takes me to strike a match, to Saturday shoppers.

Ingredients:

2 large Desirée potatoes (at least 200 g of each)

a little olive oil

rock salt, crushed

a little butter

salt and freshly milled black pepper

jacket potato

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 190°C.

First you need to wash the potatoes and dry them very thoroughly with a cloth, then leave them aside to dry as much as possible. If you’re using ready-washed potatoes you need not do this, as the high heat will purify them.

Next, prick the skins a few times with a fork, then put a few drops of olive oil over each one and rub it all over the skin. After that, rub in some crushed salt – this will draw out the moisture from the skin and, together with the oil, provide more crunchiness.

Now place the potatoes straight on to the centre shelf of the oven and let them bake for 1¾-2 hours, or until the skins are really crisp.

When you are ready to serve, slit each potato in half lengthways and top with the butter and seasoning.

Serve immediately because, after you remove jacket potatoes from the oven, they lose their crispness very quickly, so don’t let them hang around.