Why It's A Mistake To Brush Potato Skins With Unseasoned Oil

Whole roasted baby potatoes
Whole roasted baby potatoes - Daniel_Dash/Shutterstock

The skins aren't the most glamorous part of a potato. But if you top them with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and a sprinkle of chives, we're almost certain that your opinion of the spud skins is likely to change. Despite those recipes for loaded potato skins that include an array of flavorful ingredients piled high on top of one another, the reality is that without these toppings, the skins are sort of bland — something that's especially true if you coat them with an equally bland oil.

Brushing oil onto potato skins is non-negotiable, no matter the recipe. Fat helps the skins to maintain some moisture all the while helping them to crisp up without becoming too papery. Any number of cooking oils can be used to achieve that perfectly crunchy exterior, however, given that potato skins can hold onto flavor quite nicely, it's worth ditching lackluster canola oil or peanut oil for a more complexly flavored variety, such as a grassy and faintly spicy olive oil.

Since potatoes are quite neutral tasting, it's best to take every opportunity to infuse as much flavor into the spuds as possible. Experimenting with flavors by using infused or seasoned olive oils can give potato skins subtle depth. Able to elevate flavors in a really effortless way, these oils are a must when seasoning spuds, skins, and all.

Read more: The 20 Best Olive Oils For Cooking

Seasoned And Infused Oils Are The Secret To Tastier Potato Skins

Jar of oil with scattered spices and herbs
Jar of oil with scattered spices and herbs - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

Peruse the aisles of any grocery store or specialty food market and you'll find endless bottles of oil laced with all kinds of ingredients. Truffle shavings, chili flakes, herbes de Provence, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh dill, roasted shallots — the options are plentiful. All you need to do is decide which flavors will be most complimentary for your intended recipe, and the rest is easy. Just brush the oil onto the skins and bake.

For a more tailored result, you could also make a small batch of flavored oil. Quick and simple, gently heat some olive oil with your choice of flavorings for a few minutes before straining out the solids, and slathering it on spuds. As for what to include, add a clove of crushed garlic or bits of cheese rind for extra umami. Sprinkle in smoked paprika or stir in a touch of berbere spice blend for some punch. Impart vibrancy with fresh citrus zest, or add depth with woodsy herbs like rosemary or thyme. In a pinch, you can even add seasonings to a bowl of oil (without heating) before brushing the mixture over skins.

The bottom line is that whether you're making stuffed potato skins or big ole' baked potatoes, brushing flavored oil onto potato skins always pays off. Give it a go, and you'll understand why this tip is such a game-changer when it comes to amping up flavor.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.