Then remove the baking dish and set it aside. Now, turn the oven up to 500 degrees. That’s right. 500.
While the oven is getting ready, remove the foil from the baking dish, and the sprigs of rosemary and toss them away. Remove the garlic heads and set those aside to cool.
Gently brush the tops and sides of the potatoes with olive oil. Do not move the potatoes. Return the uncovered baking dish to the oven for 15 minutes or so, to crisp them.
Now, for the sauce.
Finely chop about a hoofta or two (handfuls) of fresh rosemary and put into a bowl. Davison measured her rosemary this way: the leaves from two fresh sprigs, plus another quarter teaspoon of rosemary. But hooftas are what I use.
Take the garlic heads and squeeze the root ends so the cloves slip out of their skins and into the bowl. You might need to hold them with a towel if they’re too hot. Add a stick of softened butter. Davison used only four tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Use a fork to mash the garlic, rosemary and softened butter together.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Pick up each one with a towel and scrape off any salt from the bottom. Open each potato with a fork, spoon in the sauce and watch the smiles on the faces of your guests.
“Aren’t they great?” said Davison.
So are you. America, I give you ATK’s Julia Collin Davison. Goddess of the Baked Potato and uniter of the warring tribes.
Note: I’ll be taking the Thanksgiving week off, my first vacation all year. I’ll continue with the WLS-AM radio gig in the mid-mornings, but a break from the column will allow me to see family visiting from out of town.
But I can’t go without first leaving you the turkey brine instructions. Brining is the best method for a juicy bird. If you fry your turkey, you could burn your house down or your face off. Brine instead. Then roast it in an oven or over charcoal. Be happy.