Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Potatoes cooked right on the hearth of an open fireplace.
Any baking potato will do, these were russet burbanks. It's difficult to give exact directions on how to go about it as there are a couple of variables - how hot the coals are, how far the potatoes are from them and how large they are. The cooking distance also influences the flavour; the closer the spuds, the more they char and get that baked-in-the-fire taste.
These potatoes took about an hour and a half, but weren't particularly close, though they finished up on the coals for the last ten minutes. Here's how to go about it.
Tear a double thickness of aluminium foil, enough to comfortably wrap a single potato, allow one large potato per person. Place the potatoes no further than six inches from the coals and cook for about 30 minutes, then turn around to cook the other side. They are cooked when a wooden skewer passes easily through them. If you like a slightly charred flavour, put the foil packets directly on the coals for the last ten minutes.
There are other ways to get different flavours too. Pierce the potatoes all over with a knife and insert slivers of garlic, rosemary or anything else you like, even pieces of truffle, into the gashes. If bacon's your thing, wrap streaky bacon around the spuds as well, all before wrapping with the foil. The bacon might be too charred to eat, depending on how closely to the coals you place the spuds, but its porky goodness will suffuse itself throughout.
Sour cream, butter, salt and fresh ground pepper are all good serving partners.