We call our baked potato recipe “Streeterville” baked potatoes, and probably only those of you in Chicago will know where Streeterville is. For the rest of you, Streeterville is a section of town near Navy Pier, where many years ago a local character named Streeter stationed his ship offshore, built a short causeway to town, and declared that he was legally not in Chicago, and therefore had some benefits over the rest of Chicago. Must have been fun times.
Anyhow, now one of the hotels in the area has a restaurant called the Streeterville Grille. We had the best baked potatoes in memory there, and by doing a little snooping, I found out how it’s done.
The waitress said it was a secret, but she could tell me what she saw in the back. We tried it at home, and liked it.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees, and place either a cookie sheet or a piece of foil (my choice — no pan to clean) on the rack about 2/3 up from the bottom of the oven. While the oven is warming, scrub the potatoes and dry them off.
Rub each potato with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and place in the oven. If you have large grained salt, like kosher salt, it’s best. After 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes, they should feel soft when you pinch them.
You have lots of options when serving them, but I usually use at least butter, chives, and salt and pepper, as shown in the photo. For variety, you can also add bacon crumbles, shredded cheese, sour cream, or peanut butter. OK, just kidding on the last one. On the other hand, maybe I should try that….