Hasselback Potatoes

by Chef Randy

What are Hasselback Potatoes? Some say they are a work of art. I say they are one of the best ways to pair a photo with the expression “You eat with your eyes.” They will certainly grab your culinary attention. Your friends and family will stand and applaud you as you bring them to the table for the first time.

So, really, what are they and where were they first served? These accordion-like potatoes were first created in Stockholm, Sweden, at a restaurant called Hasselbacken. The two-bake process and the infusion of butter and/or oil make them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The combination of butter, herbs, and spices is only limited by your imagination. Adorn them any which way you choose. For example, top with herbed sour cream or fill the cracks with Panko crumbs and butter and dust the tops with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. I often pick fresh rosemary from my herb garden the night before and add infuse extra virgin olive oil. I then use this aromatic infusion as a changeup from the butter/olive oil mixture.

I like to bake them for 30 minutes, remove them from the oven, stuff cheddar cheese in between the slices, put them back in the oven to get fully baked and, as a friend’s young son once said, all “melty good.”

Ingredients:

4 large Yukon Gold or medium Russet potatoes (scrubbed clean)

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1½ cups cheddar cheese (grated)

Green onions – chopped for garnish)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut slits into the potato spacing them 1/8th to ¼ inch apart. Stop each slice just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. You can use chopsticks as a guide for when to stop slicing [see photo]. Slice straight down and when your knife hits the edge of the sticks, stop that slice and go on to the next.

Carefully lift the potatoes up and place in a baking dish. Melt butter and oil together. Brush the potatoes all over (bottoms too!) with half of the butter / oil mixture. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake the unadorned potatoes for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes the layers will start separating but the potatoes are not fully cooked through. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the potatoes with the rest of the butter/oil mixture. If the layers are stuck together, gently nudge them apart using a butter knife. You want to make sure the balance of the butter/ oil drips down into the space between the slices. Return potatoes to the oven and bake another 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and check to make sure they are done. The potatoes should be crispy on the edges and easily pierced in the middle with a knife. Carefully mound a 1-inch wide layer of cheese from one end to the other for each potato. Place the pan of potatoes on the middle rack and broil for about 2 or 3 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted but not burned.

Remove from oven and sprinkle top of potatoes with chopped green onions. Serve while hot and crispy

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