While crusty-skinned jacket potatoes are delicious eaten as they are slathered with butter and salt, they are equally good with a little extra virgin olive oil whipped into the hot fluffy purée but what you do with the potato/es at this point is up to you: shower with grated cheese; top with an egg, poached or fried, with or without garlic or chilli butter or oil drizzled over; or add a dollop of chilli beans, a spoonful of sour cream and a smattering of chopped coriander. Or stuff or top with leftover cauliflower cheese and grated cheese and grill until bubbling and golden. Then there’s Bolognese sauce and parmesan. That’s a beauty, and worth making the sauce to nestle inside steamy, buttery jacket potatoes instead of to dress pasta, although I would suggest making a double batch of sauce and stashing some in the freezer for those nights when time is short, or you are dog-tired but have hungry mouths to feed … oh, the comfort knowing that all you need do when you get home is scrub some spuds, bung them in the oven and take out the Bolognese sauce. Bliss.
Just about anything that goes with potatoes can be served on top or in a jacket potato. I’ve tried. And while they are really useful as a home for tasty tid-bits and leftovers – you can go all out, remove the potato pulp, mash it with hot milk and seasonings, or shallot and celery softened in butter, then top with grated cheese and grill until golden.
And for a supreme dinner, stuff with softened spring onions, diced tomato, parsley, smoked paprika AND smoked fish. Oh-la-la. Smother with grated cheddar and grill until golden.
One great thing about jacket-baked potatoes is the little time it takes to prepare them (no more than a few minutes). Another great point is that you eat the skin – it’s the best part, and nutritious – and as the potatoes are not cooked in water, all their water-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin C, are intact. They become a culinary force to be reckoned with: comfort food supreme, fast to prepare, they take care of themselves in the oven, they’re nutritious, tasty, crunchy and tender, filling and satisfying, versatile, too, oh, and they fill the pit of the stomach like nothing else – you know that hunger-hole you have there when you are tired, cold and nearly dropping dead from lack of sustenance – a jacket-baked potato is like swallowing a warm glow of happiness that spreads from the pit of your stomach upwards, leaving nothing but pleasure in its wake.
I used to love doing jacket-baked potatoes when the kids were young as you could get them on (2-min prep) then think about something else to go with them – for us it was always salad and usually other vegetables, often leftovers … sometimes it was Bolognese sauce or eggs sizzled in sage butter and parmesan …. It always made me feel good once I got the potatoes in the oven because I knew then we had the ‘heart’ of the meal under control and I could whip up other stuff while they cooked and in between supervising the kids doing their homework etc.
And as for no carbs after dark … I am a huge endorser of eating some of this and some of that, not excluding any food group. My dad lived a healthy active life to 99 so I’m sticking with it!
So don’t tell me not to eat potatoes after dark!