I’m sure this year on Thanksgiving, I was not the only one bored and tired of making another mashed potato. I can’t believe how strongly mashed potato is established in our tradition that merely changing its form feels like a sin; I was seeking for a source of forgiveness if I was going to bake them.“But we mash those potatoes every year, can't I just bake them this year?” that was what I kept thinking to myself for two days before Thanksgiving.
Finally, Thanksgiving eve was here, and I was still undecided. There was only two hours left before stores closing. It was either to go to Trader Joe's and get milk and cream cheese for mashed potatoes or just walk down the block and pick up some fresh rosemary sprigs from the sidewalk to make baked potatoes.
So, the "baked potato" side won due to my laziness to drive five blocks and deal with the busy store along with its crazy parking!
I think the reason most people wouldn't plan to make other potato sides is because they are afraid to dry this vegetable and fail to deliver that gooey experience; but what if I show you how to make perfectly baked potatoes that is creamy and gooey inside and crispy golden brown outside! Will you make it? I hope so. I promise that my baked potatoes will be just as lovely and gooey as mashed potatoes.
5 lb. russet potatoes, unpeeled
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (3-5 sprigs)
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon & pepper seasoning salt (McCormick recommended)
1 tbsp Aleppo pepper (if not available, use 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Soak the unpeeled potatoes in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. With a clean kitchen brush, or a scrub sponge, brush them under runny water until the skin is completely clear. set them aside, and let them dry.
In a small mixing bowl, place the chopped rosemary leaves, salt, and all the seasonings, and mix them until combined. set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the potatoes, in lengthwise fashion quarter them. If some of them are too big, cut them in half, and cut each half in thirds (lengthwise). Transfer the potatoes on a sheet pan which is covered with foil (optional). Sprinkle over the seasoning mixture, and then pour the oil. With clean hands, toss everything together, and massage the potatoes until each piece is fully coated with oil, rosemary, and seasoning. Spread the potatoes in a single layer with cut side up.
Cover the potatoes with foil, and bake them at the lower rack of the oven for about 15-20 minutes to create steam. After 20 minutes, carefully uncover, and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes. When they are just tender, give them a toss and turn them to one cut wedge side down, place them under broiler for 5-7 minutes until they are tender inside and brown, crisp outside. Serve hot.
- If you don’t have broiler or do not wish to work with it, you can cover the potatoes only for 10 minutes, and finish browning them in the oven until tender inside and brown, crisp outside.
- Use only fresh rosemary as dried ones will burn during baking. Remove the leaves from the woody part, and chop them finely. I like to put the leaves in a pile, on a chopping board, and rock my knife(chef knife) through them. Repeat piling and chopping until they are finely minced.
- Do not use paprika spice to substitute Aleppo pepper, since paprika burns in the oven. If Aleppo pepper is not available, just leave it out or use a little cayenne pepper.