It takes a lot for me to get excited about a baked potato. Namely, the toppings. But the sight of a potato being buried alive by butter and sour cream isn’t all that appetizing, either.
And since Nacho Man is at a company softball game, I can eat as much garlic as I want without worrying about any unseemly side effects. So here we go.
Joining me for dinner: one medium Russet potato, one small head of garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, two pieces of aluminum foil, basil, shredded Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes (the last three missed the class photo).
I cleaned and started the grill, since it was too pretty outside to turn on the oven.
Scrub the potato well and poke if full of deep holes with a fork. Baked potatoes are a lot fluffier and tastier if you don’t par-cook them in the microwave, but I was pressed for time so I microwaved my potato for about 8 minutes, turning once, until it was slightly soft to the touch, which explains the wrinkled skin. If you’re a purist, you can bake or grill the potato for 45 minutes to an hour. If you were born hungry, you can just microwave the potato until it’s completely cooked. But they’re definitely better cooked start-to-finish on the grill or in the oven.
After about 5-10 minutes, you’ll add the garlic to the grill. In the meantime, prep it:
On my grill, the potato took approximately 25-30 minutes to finish cooking, while the garlic only took about 15 or 20 minutes. Check both for doneness by poking them with a fork. The potato skin should be crispy but the fork should slide right through it. The same goes for the inside of the garlic. Remove them from the heat.
To split open the potato, make a line of fork holes down the potato. Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the ends of the potato so that the fluffy insides burst. Safety first–hold onto the foil or use cooking gloves to protect your skin from the heat.
Give each side a little drizzle of olive oil. Rub, mash, and stuff the garlic cloves into the potato. Flavor with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with shredded Parmesan, basil, and red pepper flakes. Or add the cheese and red pepper flakes, wrap the potato up, and put it back on the grill for a couple of minutes. Then, add the basil.
This would also be good with gorgonzola. Or gruyere. Or sharp cheddar and chives. I feel like “The Three Faces of Eve.” Today, the daughter of the Wisconsin farm boy is in control. And she wants cheese.
Baked Potato with Roasted Garlic
For the potato:
1 medium Russet potato
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for garnish
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
basil for garnish
shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish
red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
For the roasted garlic:
1 small head of garlic
drizzle of olive oil
pinch of salt
black pepper to taste
1. If grilling, then heat and clean the grill.
2. Scrub the potato and poke the skin with the tines of a fork. Microwave 6-12 minutes, flipping once, or until potato gives slightly to the touch. Or don’t microwave and skip to step 3.
3. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste into a piece of aluminum foil large enough to completely cover the potato. Rub both sides of the potato into the oil mixture. Cover with foil and place on the grill on medium heat, away from direct flame.
4. Trim the tops off the garlic head. Place the garlic head on a piece of foil large enough to completely encase it. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and place on grill.
5. The par-cooked potato will take approximately 25-30 minutes to finish cooking. Otherwise, expect the potato to need 45 minutes to an hour. The garlic will take about 15-20 minutes to cook. It’s done when you can easily insert a fork into one of the cloves.
6. Holding onto the bottom of the garlic head, carefully slide a knife blade along the cloves. They should slide right out of the skins.
7. Make a line of fork marks down the potato. Use your hands to split it open–look out for steam. Drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired. Gently mash the garlic cloves into the potato.
8. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, basil, and red pepper flakes.