The Cottage Smallholder

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The best crispy baked potatoes that I’ve ever tasted

one of the best baked poatoesThese poatoes in their jackets are superb. This simple recipe must be the fastest, easiest and tastiest base for any busy midweek meal. Pop them in the oven and forget about them for an hour.

I’ve cooked baked potatoes for years and they’re definitely comfort food for me. It took me ages to twig that the secret of great baked potatoes is in the skin. The timing in this recipe is as important as the spicy rub. To eat them at their crispiest they mustn’t hang about in the oven past their cooking time as this softens their skins. The dogs are not keen on the recipe as it means that there are never any left over skins to guzzle, after a supper party.

These baked potatoes are great with everything. Tonight they accompany Sunday’s cold chicken and fresh runner beans from the garden. They’re equally good with salads, grated cheese, chops, sausages, ham or whale meat.


  • 2 biggish potatoes for each gentleman, one for each lady
  • The Secret Rub – enough for 3 potatoes:
    3 tsp of mustard powder
    1 tsp ground black pepper (ground fresh from your pepper mill is perfect)
    ? tsp crushed sea salt/rock salt (Maldon from your salt mill is best)
    ? tsp dried garlic powder (or garlic granules)
    3 tbsp of olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 210? (190? fan assisted)
  2. Wash potatoes and scrub them gently with a nylon or wire brush to remove mud. Take care to remove bad bits, protrusions, and unappetising spots.
  3. Put them into the oven, while it is warming, for a minute or two to dry them off. The rub will soak into the skins better if they are dried this way (rather than using kitchen towels).
  4. On a medium sized plate, put the spices in a small pile and pour over the olive oil. Use your finger(s) to mix the ingredients well. Making sure that all the lumps of mustard powder are crushed and mixed in well.
  5. Lay 2 or 3 sheets of kitchen towel on your surface as the next stage can be messy.
  6. Using a long barbecue skewer or two or more shorter ones, skewer your potatoes lengthwise (why should I skewer baked potatoes? See Tricks and Tips below)
  7. Smear them all over with the secret rub – this is why you need the paper towels – the rub drips a bit.
  8. Lay them on the top rack of your pre-heated oven- no need for a baking tray
  9. Leave for an hour to bake.

November 18th 2006 Update:

My friend Clare halves the baked spuds and scoops out the potatoe, mixes this with grated cheese and chopped parsley. She returns this mixture to the shells and grills them. These are delicious.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Serve them straight from the oven when the cooking time is up. It’s a good idea to set the timer for forty five minutes to give you time to cook the other vegetables, make up your salad or whatever. Even a fifteen minute delay, beyond the hour, means the skins will begin to soften and shrivel.
  • Why should I skewer baked potatoes?
    The skewer helps them bake more evenly as heat is generated from skewer inside the potatoes as well as from the outside.

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