These are simply wicked – so utterly satisfying, warming, nourishing and all the things that make you want to sing with happiness!
There's a bit more work involved with these potatoes, so save them for a night when you have time.
8 large floury potatoes, scrubbed and pricked all over with a skewer
Salt, flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium vine tomatoes
2 Tbsp butter
200ml (about 7 fluid ounces) hot milk
¼ tsp smoked Spanish paprika (sweet) (or cayenne pepper), plus a little extra for dusting
¼ tsp celery salt, optional
Bunch of spring onions (scallions), trimmed and sliced
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
250g (8-9 ounces) vintage cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups flaked skinned and boned smoked fish of your choice
You can make baked potatoes even more substantial by serving poached or fried eggs alongside, and a fresh and crisp green salad. I always have a bottle of Culley’s Sriracha sauce on the side, but reach for whatever hot stuff you normally go for. Celery salt is optional, but it adds a bit of extra zing. Read more about jacket-baked potatoes and here Comfort me with potatoes
1 Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll wet potatoes in flaky sea salt. Put potatoes on the oven rack. Bake potatoes for 1½ hours, turning occasionally, or until skins are very crunchy. Putting a baking sheet lined with tin foil under the oven rack to catch falling flakes of salt will save on cleaning up.
2 Chop tomatoes, discarding cores, and drain for 15 minutes in a sieve. Tip onto paper towels and mop gently.
3 When baked potatoes are tender, remove from oven and immediately cut each one in half (be careful of the steam). Scoop out flesh and mash in a china bowl with a potato masher, adding butter, hot milk, ½ a teaspoon of salt, paprika or cayenne pepper, and celery salt if using, spring onions, parsley, and half the cheese.
4 Pile half the potato purée back into potato skins, then top with tomatoes and smoked fish. Spread the rest of the potato purée on top, then transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish. Scatter with remaining cheese.
5 Return baked potatoes to oven and bake for around 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden. Serve hot.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com