How to bake a potato
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub the potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and prick them with the tines of a fork. You can lay them directly on the oven rack or place them on a baking sheet. Cook the potatoes for 45 to 60 minutes, until their skin is crispy, and sticking one with a fork meets no resistance.
Alternatively, make foil-wrapped potatoes: Follow the same directions as for oven-roasted potatoes, but wrap the potatoes in foil before cooking.
The Result: Softer skin, plus the potatoes stay warm in their foil jackets if you’re still working on the topping or need to save a potato for someone running late.