To guarantee a crisp-skinned and fluffy-textured baked potato, a floury rather than starchy variety of potato is the best choice. Should you prefer the skins to be softer, wrap the potatoes in foil.
coarse sea salt and pepper
100g (4oz) cubes of pancetta or bacon
handful of chopped chives
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Prick the potatoes to release the steam created during baking. Scatter sea salt on a baking tray to prevent the skins from burning, place the potatoes on the sea salt and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1½ hours.
To make the croutons, fry the streaky bacon in a dry frying pan until coloured, then reduce the heat and continue to cook until crispy and crunchy. Dry the bacon pieces on kitchen paper.
To serve, cut a cross in the top of each potato. Using a clean cloth, squeeze from the base so the four quarters open. Top with a spoonful of sour cream, a scattering of chives and the bacon croutons.