Salt-Baked Potatoes with Juniper Compound Butter

A new way to make an old favorite

At first glance, it looks like just a baked potato. But let us reassure you that Rachel Miller's salt-baked potato is anything but ordinary.

The Southern transplant is the sous chef of Bondir, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is still acclimating to New England winters. She created her potato recipe as a panacea for cold nights, and as a vehicle for her enduring obsession with smoked ingredients. She smokes her own tea, spices and salt; the latter acts as a cozy blanket for baking a Russet potato, giving it a taut skin. Miller tops her potato with juniper-berry compound butter for a whole new take on the humble spud.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Miller, Bondir, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Salt-Baked Potatoes With Juniper Compound Butter
5 from 34 ratings
At first glance, it looks like just a baked potato. But let us reassure you that Rachel Miller's salt-baked potato is anything but ordinary.
Servings
2
servings (with leftover compound butter)
Ingredients
  • Medium Russet potatoes, 2
  • Whole cloves, 16
  • Kosher salt or sel gris, 6 cups plus 1 teaspoon, plus extra for serving
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs, 12 (or small juniper or spruce branches)
  • Unsalted butter, 2 sticks (at room temperature)
  • Dried juniper berries, 1½ teaspoons
  • Freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. On a cutting board, set the Russet potatoes. Stud each potato with 8 whole cloves.
  2. Fill a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan (or a deep baking dish) with about 2 cups of the kosher salt (or add enough to create a 1-inch salt cushion).
  3. Add an even layer of 6 rosemary sprigs.
  4. Top with the clove-studded potatoes, then cover with the remaining 6 rosemary sprigs and 4 cups kosher salt.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid or a doubled sheet of aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 2 hours.
  6. While the potatoes bake, make the compound butter. To a food processor, add the room-temperature unsalted butter and Juniper berries.
  7. Process the mixture until well combined, about 30 seconds. Then pulse in the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Set the mixture aside until the potatoes are finished cooking (the compound butter will become more flavorful the longer it sits). Use the rubber spatula to transfer the juniper butter to a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Use the spatula to press the butter through the sieve (discard any juniper berry bits remaining in the sieve).
  9. Remove the potatoes from the oven, uncover and discard the foil. Let the potatoes cool for 10 minutes, then use a fork and a spoon to dig the potatoes out from the salt. Carefully remove and discard the cloves (try not to let them break off in the potatoes). Use a pastry brush or a folded paper towel to brush away any salt stuck to the exterior of the potatoes.
  10. Place each potato on a plate. Use a paring knife to make a slit lengthwise down the center of each. Add a generous dollop of the juniper butter and a sprinkle of salt, and serve.
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