The Unique Way Martha Stewart's Las Vegas Restaurant Serves Baked Potatoes

This month, Martha Stewart officially opened her full-service restaurant, The Bedford by Martha Stewart, in the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Named for her New York farmhouse, the restaurant is serving some of Stewart's favorite and quintessential dishes. The menu includes family recipes from Stewart's mother and daughter, as well as dishes she makes in her own home when entertaining guests. Tasting Table was lucky enough to try many of the items that are now on the menu during the grand opening and subsequent media lunch: Dishes like Big Martha's Pierogis (Stewart's mother's recipe), made with traditional potato filling and bathed in brown butter, are simple in execution but deeply comforting. Others, like the whole roast chicken (which has an impressive layer of herbed breadcrumbs stuffed between the skin and tender meat), will give you a new appreciation for the classics.

But one of the plates that really delighted was the smashed baked potato. That's right, we couldn't get enough of a potato; And apparently, neither can Stewart. She learned how to create this ultra-fluffy baked potato in Maine, and according to her longtime friend and Executive Director of Design, Kevin Sharkey, it's the very potato that Stewart serves at home to this day. What could possibly be so special about a potato, and how do they achieve that perfectly fluffy and soft texture? We found out.

Martha Stewart's secret to perfectly fluffy baked potatoes

As far back as 2013, Stewart's been telling fans about her favorite baked potato (via YouTube), but if this is your first time hearing about this amazing technique, here's how it's made. 

Stewart starts with a russet potato and prepares it as usual: wash, dry, and prick with a fork. Next, you give the skin a quick brush of olive oil and sprinkle it all over with kosher salt. Place the potato directly on the rack or on a baking sheet, and bake it for about an hour at 400°F, or until fork tender. The potatoes will be ready to eat the moment they come out of the oven, so time the rest of your meal accordingly.

Once the potatoes are fully cooked, this is when the magic happens. Stewart instructs us to take the potatoes out of the oven and use a thick, dry, clean dish towel to pick up a potato (warning: it's hot). Then slam the potato down on the counter; The potato should burst open, revealing the fluffy and steaming interior. You don't want to smash it so hard that hot potato pieces go flying across the kitchen, but you'll need to use enough force to really disrupt the insides and tear open the skin. It's totally normal for the potato to lose its shape in the process — that just means it's extra fluffy, and you can gently push it back together a little to serve.

Stewart's baked potato gets the Vegas treatment.

Martha's Smashed Baked Potato is available as a side dish on The Bedford's menu for $15.95 and includes crème fraîche, chives, and bacon lardons. That's certainly one of the higher-priced baked potatoes we've seen, but then again — it's Vegas. And if you're feeling like a real high-roller, you can upgrade your smashed baked potato even more. The potatoes are also offered with Golden Osetra caviar, crème fraîche, and chives which will run you anywhere from $115.95 for a 1-ounce portion of caviar to $266.95 for a 4-ounce portion. Now that's a pricy potato. According to Regalis Foods, gold is one of the rarest colors of caviar, accounting for just 8% of the harvest.

During lunch with Stewart and her team at The Bedford, we were treated to the smashed baked potatoes — complete with caviar. As demonstrated by Stewart herself, you'll want to salt and pepper your split potato before adding a dollop of butter and a large spoonful of crème fraîche. Next, you top it all off with a generous serving of caviar and bask in the fluffy, warm, creamy, and salty taste of the best (and likely most expensive) potato you've had in your life.