Q. I love a good jacket potato but don’t always have the time to cook them in the oven. The only trouble is that when I microwave them, they are often a little undercooked and the skin lacks that nice crispy texture. Is there a way to microwave potatoes so that they come close to an oven baked finish?
A. Microwaved potatoes are notorious for being less satisfying than oven baked, however, there is a trick you can use to make the skin crispier.
Start by washing the potato under cold running water. You can use a light scouring pad or brush to help remove stubborn dirt but you can probably do it just with a little rub with your hands in most cases.
Pierce the potato several times with a think knife or fork, failing to do so can result in a messy potato explosion inside your microwave- hardly a time-saver!
While the potato is still damp from rinsing, dredge it in salt so the entire surface is coated in a thick layer of salt. It might sound crazy but you will be brushing most of this off after cooking so don’t be put off. The salt helps by drawing out the water from the skin and just below the skins surface. It also helps by increasing the heat of the skin compared to the inside of the potato as the microwave heats the salt to a higher temperature.
Place your potato on a microwave safe dish and set the timer to around 8 minutes for a 7 ounce potato. You will need to increase the time if you are cooking more than one at a time, increase the cooking time to 12 minutes for two potatoes. Here’s the next part, be sure to let the potato rest for around 4 minutes. They continue to cook while resting in the microwave with the door closed and it really helps them get fluffier. All microwaves are different and so are all potatoes, so you might need a little trial and error to get it just right, if in doubt, go for the lower cooking time and give it a gentle squeeze once rested (use a think tea towel or oven glove so as not to hurt yourself though!), you can always pop it back in for another minute or two if it’s not quite there yet.
For the final test, see if you can slide a knife into it with ease. If you are happy with the result, brush the excess salt off and enjoy.