Potatoes are a holiday staple, probably because they’re so versatile and easy to work with. Mash them, boil them, bake them, fry them – the possibilities are endless!
It may surprise a lot of people, but I don’t really like potatoes (with the exception of the ever-addicting french fries, of course). To me, they’re just hot and mush. Adding salt makes it salty mush, adding butter makes it greasy mush and adding gravy makes it wet mush, but it’s still all mush. (I know it’s a weird description – try eating a baked potato with your nose plugged and see how you describe it!)
The biggest problem, of course, is that potatoes don’t have much texture. You put it in your mouth, chew it, and it dissolves pretty easily. There’s no varying consistency, no satisfying crunch – just one bite to the next.
Fortunately, my ever-patient husband made me the guinea pig of many potato-based experiments, and I think we’ve finally found out that we can call a winner! So be warned: this isn’t the same recipe you’ve had year after year at Grandma’s Christmas party…we’ve kicked it up a notch.
Update: My husband wanted to point out that rustic cuts will lose you points in a lot of cooking competitions because it looks sloppy, but it’s essential for a crunch on the crust and a varied texture. The key is to vary the cuts and keep the pieces big to get a crust with a soft center – you’re not making home fries!
-Aluminum foil (for easier clean-up!)
-Potatoes (we used yellow-flesh)
-Olive oil or melted butter/substitute,
1-2 tbsp per lb. potatoes
-Garlic, 1-2 tsp per lb potato (fresh or powdered)
-Paprika, 1/4 tsp per lb potato
-Salt, 1/2-1 tsp per potato
-Pepper, pinches to taste
-Parsley, to sprinkle (dried gives more texture)
Note: Melted butter emphasizes the spices but results in a softer potato, while olive oil will give you a very crispy crust, so it’s up to you!
- Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking tray with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
- Wash potatoes thoroughly, but leave the skins on to keep it crispy.
- Cut the potatoes in half and then into quarters so you have about eight similarly-shaped sections. Larger potatoes may need to be cut into more pieces, but it’s important to have a rounded skin and a pointed edge of the flesh on each piece for proper crispiness.
- Toss the potato pieces in olive oil or melted butter, and save the remainder of the oil/butter for drizzling later.
- Evenly space the potato pieces skin-side down on the baking tray and begin sprinkling the potatoes with the garlic and paprika.
- Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.
- Finally, sprinkle it with parsley, as much or as little as you want. The order of the spices is important to make sure that the flavors balance each other out and ensure a good crust on your potatoes.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Be careful looking at the face of the flesh, since the paprika can make them look done when they’re still raw.
- Drizzle the potatoes with the remainder of the oil/butter and then bake for an additional five minutes.
- Eat up!
The calorie amount is going to vary from potato to potato, but there are between 250-290 calories in a large white potato, including flesh and skin.
Dairy Free (if using Smart Balance)