Hasselback potatoes were my all time favourite potato as a child. The name was exotic, from the restaurant in Stockholm where they originated. Crunchy edged slivers of silky, moist potato which could be delicately peeled back one sliver at a time and nibbled systematically. They didn’t appear very often on the table, but when they did I was always very happy to see them. Something like a packet of crisps in sautée form or maybe the potato equivalent of After Eights.
I have tried to make them over the years, but usually ended up getting very sad as I lost concentration and cut all the way through the potatoes and ruined them; over and over. I haven’t made them now for about ten years. I saw on a Swedish website that you could buy a special board to sit the potatoes in to do the cutting but thought it was just a bit crazy to order them. So I had stopped thinking about them and, like Eyore, gave up on trying as I felt incompetent every time I tried.
However I was reading the lovely Everybodylikessandwiches blog recently and – guess what (Tigger bounces back) – she gives a genius solution to the Hasselback cutting problem – I love her so very much for that. I don’t think she knows how much I love her. So here they are as done by me tonight. What’s the secret?
So I did it and they were perfect and I am so happy.I quckly peeled three big potatoes, and positioned them between two chopsticks on a board with a non slip bit of matting underneath and sliced down as thinly as I could for the best paper leaf effect. The photo above makes it look as if they are cut quite wide apart but the slices don’t really open up until they are in the oven; go as thin as you can manage. The chopsticks neatly stop you going all the way through. As I said – Genius !
I layered mine with pink sea salt and multi coloured pepper corns and shreds of bay leaf from the garden and cooked them in duck fat, you don’t need very much. I roasted them for about 45 minutes at 175 º C, spooning the fat over a couple of times during that period, till they started to get that lovely colour and open up like a fan.
They are, if I may be permitted to say, completely fabulous, far less greasy than full on roasties, and very, very special.
Get your chopsticks out and make Hasselbacks! Lots of different ways to season them so let your imagination run riot. They’re all good. Always!