8 (6 to 8 ounces each) long baking potatoes*
1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs**
5 tablespoons butter (melted), divided
1 teaspoon paprika
Coarse salt, to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley (garnish), optional
* When shopping for potatoes, look for potatoes that are firm and smooth. Avoid potatoes with wrinkled or wilted skins, soft dark areas, cut surfaces, and those that are green in appearance.
** Learn how to make Homemade Bread Crumbs.
Preheat oven to 450° degrees F. Oil a large shallow glass baking dish. Place oven rack in middle of the oven.
Rinse and scrub the potatoes thoroughly before using. Peel the potatoes.
Place the peeled potatoes on a cutting board and cut a narrow 1/4-inch slice from the bottom of each potato; discard the slice (this helps the potato lie flat and not roll).
Place two long handled wooden chopsticks on each side of the potato lengthwise. Use a sharp knife and slice each potato crosswise, making 1/4-inch apart slices, cutting down vertically. The chopsticks will prevent the knife from cutting entirely through the potato. You need to leave 1/4-inch of the bottom of the potato intact.
As you finish cutting each potato, drop them into cold water to prevent discoloring. Gently flex the potato fans open while rinsing under cold running water. This rids the potatoes of excess starch that can impede fanning. Dry potatoes well before baking.
NOTE: Potatoes may be prepared in advanced to the above point. Place potatoes in cold water (to prevent discoloring) until ready to bake. To bake, dry potatoes well.
Place the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon melted butter, paprika, and salt in a food processor; process until blended.
Brush prepared potatoes with 2 tablespoons melted butter (making sure some gets in the potato cracks), and pat the prepared cheese/bread crumb mixture on top of each potato.
Place potatoes in the oiled baking dish; cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes until they turn crispy and the flesh is soft. Potatoes are done when the internal temperature registers approximately 200 degrees F. on your cooking thermometer.
This is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Remove from the oven.
To serve, drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle minced parsley over the tops of the baked potatoes. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.