When I was a little kid, I dreaded having baked potatoes with dinner. It got to the point where I would audibly groan at the mention of them (how awful, right?). There was just nothing about them that I enjoyed. I’ve never been a fan of sour cream, and melty butter on semi-mashed potato doesn’t do it for me. In fact, the whole cross-cut and squeeze technique for eating baked potatoes was a turn off.
Weird? Yea, probably a little.
Since then, I have grown to like baked potatoes. There’s a world of difference between baked potatoes, cross-sliced and squeezed open, and baked potatoes, sliced and topped with something yummy (sharp cheddar, black beans and salsa, I am looking at you!). Heck, I even like them served that traditional way, as long as there is a fresh, fabulous mix-in to make it special
Fortunately, my kids don’t share my aversion to the traditional eating of baked potatoes. In many ways, they are easier eaters than most people I know, open to trying just about anything — and liking much of it. When it comes to eating potatoes, they love them any which way. Sure, Paige, wants her baked potatoes cut up like me (it’s easier to stab with a fork), but they will eat them plain, or with butter or sour cream or cheese or whatever. And me? I let them eat them however they want.
There’s a lesson in that. Had I been allowed to eat potatoes however I wanted at a young age, I might have never dreaded seeing baked potatoes being pulled out of the oven, steaming hot. I might have discovered how different flavors, stirred in or just topping it, can totally change the potato.
When it comes down to it, aside from using utensils, there isn’t one right way to eat most foods. Corn on the cob can be bitten off the cob, buttered or not, or cut from the cob before eating. Does it really matter which way its eaten? I don’t think it does …
Now, I know it’s summer and this is hardly time to be heating the house for baked potatoes. The good news? You don’t have to! You can have baked potatoes now — just grill them. Wrapped in aluminum foil and rubbed with salt, they are easy, fast and delicious.
“Baked” Potatoes on the Grill
- 4 medium (2"-3") potatoes (such as Yukon gold or red potatoes)
- kosher salt
- Lay out 4 squares of aluminum foil.
- Wash the potatoes under cool water, scrubbing to remove any residual dirt. Place them onto a plate or into a bowl and sprinkle with a generous amount of kosher salt.
- One at a time, remove the potatoes from the plate, rubbing to ensure that the salt evenly coats. Then wrap the foil around them, sealing the edges as you go.
- Heat the grill on high and place the potatoes on the grill, letting the grill heat up with them on for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to medium and cook for an additional 20 minutes, until tender.
- Be careful opening the foil packets -- they will be very hot.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.