The very best baked potatoes

Sweet pot

Baked potatoes are up there with my favourite foods; I love floury potatoes with sweet slow-cooked leeks, mixed with grated cheddar, wholegrain mustard, a little creme fraiche and lemon zest. And sweet potatoes spiked with butter beans and smoked paprika.

The best one I’ve ever had was at a beachside restaurant in Biarritz a few summers ago. It was in a fish restaurant, and I don’t eat fish, so I was a bit sullen about the prospect, so just ordered the sides of baked potato and salad. The potatoes were perfectly baked in hot coals, then cut open and topped with a dot of salty butter and cream cheese – they were perfect and so simple.

Sweet Potatoes

(cover image Yuki Sugiura) Wash and dry 2 sweet potatoes, each weighing 250–300g and prick them with a fork. Roast them at 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7 for 30–45 minutes, until soft throughout.

FOR 2 POTATOES:

  • BLITZ 2 tomatoes, 1 chilli, bunch of coriander. Heat black beans, 1 clove of garlic, chilli, pinch
  • of cinnamon. Top with beans, chilli sauce, mashed avocado.
  • SAUTÉ couple of handfuls of spinach. Chop sun-dried tomatoes. Slice avocado. Top with hummus, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, lemon juice.
  • WARM 1 tin of butter beans, pinch of smoked paprika, leaves from a few sprigs of thyme, lemon zest. Chop parsley. Top with warm beans, chopped parsley, grating of Manchego.
  • PAN-FRY 1 tin of drained chickpeas in a little oil, with a teaspoon of cumin, until crisp. ADD roasted chopped peppers, cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil, lemon zest. Pile on to potatoes and crumble over feta.
  • HALVE sweet potatoes and scoop out flesh. Mix with a handful of grated Cheddar, sautéed leeks, chopped chives, shredded greens. Pile back into skins. Top with more cheese. Grill until melted (4–5 minutes). Serve with yoghurt, mixed with lemon juice and chives.


Floury Potatoes

Wash and dry 2 floury potatoes (Maris Piper or King Edward), weighing about 300–400g, prick them with a fork, then rub with oil and salt, and bake at 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7 for 1 hour.

FOR 2 POTATOES:

  • CHOP 6 cornichons, 1⁄2 a bunch of parsley, 2 tablespoons capers, zest of 1 lemon. Mix with 1 tablespoon crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt, salt and pepper. Mash into potatoes. Top with rocket.
  • COOK 1 tin of white beans. Add leaves from a sprig of thyme, pinch of chilli, salt. Top with beans, grated Cheddar, chilli sauce.
  • CHOP FINELY 1⁄2 a cabbage, 1⁄2 a bunch of parsley, 1 apple. Grate 1 carrot. Chop 1 red onion, scrunch with juice of 1⁄2 a lemon and salt. Mix 1 tablespoon yoghurt, juice of 1⁄2 a lemon. Pile on to potatoes.
  • COOK 1 shredded leek until soft, add greens and wilt, add leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme. Stir in 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard, 2 tablespoons grated Cheddar. Top with leeks and cheese.
  • COOK 1 tablespoon mustard seeds with a handful of curry leaves until they pop. Add a handful of spinach and chopped spring onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add zest of a lemon.

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