HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR HASSELBACK POTATOES
Hasselback potatoes are gorgeous wee spuds sliced thinly in the width but not all the way down. This allows them to fan out slightly and makes loading or basting much easier but also much more efficient. The fan openings mean that the hasselback spuds are the ideal vehicle for all kinds of goodness. You cook them in the oven and they are a fun way to eat potatoes.
All the slicing is a bit of an effort, but they are worth the hassle (pun intended). They are one of the most delicious sides to have with a roast chicken or with a huge thick steak.
I find that although hasselback potatoes should technically not be a whole lot more exciting than baked potatoes, they work for me on so many levels. I love the crunchiness of the skin and the squishiness of the warm inside. I love that you can stuff the fan openings, for lack of a better word, and let all the glorious spices, and oils and flavours infiltrate the flesh of the potato. A juicy, luscious, crunchy potato loaded with gorgeous bits is a perfect morsel of food.
There are so many recipes for Hasselback potatoes on the internet, you might think this post is futile and unnecessary, but I bear with me, I want to teach you how to give them extra vavavoum. I’ve been thinking a lot about what can be added to them to make them look at that bit more delicious. Because this is my thing, you see, there is not a delicious food that I don’t want to make even better.
So let’s talk about the basics off what you should consider to elevate your spuds to greater heights.
Here you have the choice of oven friendly oils, butter, ghee, animal fats like glorious duck or goose fat or if you’ve ever so lucky, maybe you have some schmaltz, because that would be extra delicious.
The hasselback potatoes pictured in this post were cooked basted in a mix of melted butter and a bit of rapeseed oil, just to make sure the butter didn’t burn
This is where you can get really creative but first, don’t forget a pinch of salt on each potato. Just as a base.
I can’t conceive of potatoes without garlic so I always incorporate grated garlic on these. I love a good shake of za’atar mix too.
Some toppings for you to consider: ‘nduja, bacon, cheese (think parmesan, but also think of a great melter like a reblochon, a raclette, fontina or a gubbeen but also something sharper like a feta crumbled or rockfield shavings), unwaxed lemon zest. fresh herbs, chili flakes, curry powder, rayu, smoked paprika, gochujang, dry herbs, bread crumbs. Basically the only limitation here will be your imagination.
Some combinations I am particularly keen on are hasselback potatoes cooked in garlic butter and za’atar or I also adore them cooked in butter, dill, garlic, lemon and LOTS of freshly crushed black pepper.
This great video from Food & Wine shows you the best way to slice Hasselback potatoes without cutting them all the way down. Once you’ve seen it done, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to figure it out, I know I did!
If you’re going to be using ‘nduja made sure you spread it between the slices rather than on top of the potato. If you’re going to use bacon bits or feta just crumbled them on top 10 min before your spuds are done. If you use butter, melt it in the microwave first and add a tablespoon or two of oil so it doesn’t catch in the oven.
Once you’ve cut the potato, spoon the toppings on top and get them nice and in there between the slices. Put them in an oven pre-heated to 180 C for 20 min, take them out and baste them again, and put them back in the oven for 20 min. If you’re adding bacon or feta, do it now and leave it in for another 10 min otherwise, plate up, garnish and eat up!