Holiday Cook

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are the ideal starch to go along with almost any meat that has been broiled, braised, fried, or grilled. Potatoes originally came from high in the Andes Mountains. So it was not until after Columbus discovered America that they were even known in the "old" world, and many years more before they became popular. Imagine what it must have been like without the ubiquitous potato. This recipe is very easy, but the effect matches the potato produced by even the best restaurants.

4 nice sized baking potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse grain salt
4 pads of butter
1 cup grated Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F. Thoroughly wash the potatoes and remove eyes. Stab each potato four to eight times with a fork. Coat the potatoes with oil and then roll them in the coarse salt. Place in the oven on the rack. Place foil underneath to catch dripping juices. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until insides are tender. Remove from heat and place on a serving plate or platter. With a sharp knife cut a line length-wise across the top of the potato about 3/4 of an inch deep. Now cut another line width-wise. Squeeze the potato on its quarters so that the cross in the middle opens up and outward. Insert that pad of butter and place grated cheese over all.

The baked potato may also be served with other toppings, including chives, sour cream, bacon bits, and chili.

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