Joanna's Hasselbacks

Hasselback Potatoes – The Secret is Out!

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?


Chopsticks are the answer to Hasselback potatoes

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!

48 thoughts on “Hasselback Potatoes – The Secret is Out!

  1. sallybr

    OH, THIS IS TOO GOOD! and yes, I am screaming!

    Like you, I’ve tried to make these potatoes in the past, but decided I lacked the proper skills to cut them – I WILL try this chopstick trick (kuai zi, one of my favorite Chinese words, by the way) – and hope to come up with a dish as good looking as yours… (well, I doubt that, but still… ;-)

  2. Lou

    What a wonderful tip!
    I have never made these but certainly plan to now. What did you have yours with?

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s all thanks to Everybody Likes Sandwiches. She’s my new hero Lou! Stuffed mushrooms with chorizo and celery and other bits from the fridge and some steamed russian kale, but they would be perfect with a big Sunday roast dinner.

  3. Misk Cooks

    Very clever indeed. Did you drop the sliced potatoes in ice water after cutting them to draw out the starch and coax them to open easier?

    1. Joanna Post author

      No, I probably should have done. I don’t keep much ice in the freezer and I know it’s useful for all sorts of things. These potatoes are new season so not very starchy, I think they are Estima ones.

  4. Hannah

    Delicious looking hasselbacks! I balance my potatoes on a deep wooden spoon and the slice down, love the pink sea salt on yours!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Another brilliant method! You are a hassleback genius too then :) That is probably the traditional way of doing it but I don’t have a big enough wooden spoon. I might look for one. The hasselback board looks like a spoonbowl in a block of wood.

  5. ceciliag

    I have Never seen these and I must say as loudly as i can so you can hear me THANK YOU. I thought I knew all the potato dishes (because I love potatoes) but NO. i am going to make these tonight i cannot wait! and now i even know the trick! .. now about that spandex!!c

  6. Jeannette

    What a good idea! I’m sure there will be lots of people eating Hassleback potatoes this weekend after seeing this!

  7. Christine

    I remember hasselbacks! I did them as ‘special occasion’ potatoes. The flavour and texture seems to change and yours look wonderful. I will have to try them with the flavourings. The duck fat makes such a difference. Have you ever tried to render it yourself? (phew!)The chopsticks are a great idea.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Ah Christine ! You are another fan of the great Hasselback. Yes the flavour and texture changes but I don’t know quite how to describe it. The duck fat makes them even more delicious of course. I saved the fat from when we last cooked duck which was a while ago now. If you like bay leaves then put whole leaves in there, I just used a few shreds this time as Brian is not that keen but he liked them done this way and ate two big ones. I had to resist the urge to siphon his second one onto my plate ;)

  8. Nip it in the bud

    I love potatoes in all shapes and forms yet I’ve never known the delights of a hasselback. I even have an entire recipe book devoted to the spud and I don’t recall this method of cooking being featured. Definitely one to try, mmmmmm.

  9. Mariana

    I’m sold! What a super idea Joanna. Looks like there will be a nice surprise with the potatoes on christmas day this year. Better have a wee practice first. So pleased I dropped by for this great tip.

    1. Joanna Post author

      If you have a large wooden spoon from your travels in Europe that would probably work even better than the chopsticks like Hannah suggests above. I do hope you like them however you make them :)

  10. spiceandmore

    I haven’t made these for ages…and certainly never made them with duck fat. I am sure that makes them super delicious. Must rectify that soon!
    The tip I read somewhere was to stick a metal skewer through the potato, lengthwise, at about the 20 percent mark (about where you want to stop cutting). It’s pretty easy, as soon as your knife touches the skewer, you stop!

    1. Joanna Post author

      It is certainly worth a try. i would worry that the slices would come detached when I pulled the skewer out. Some people par boil them, some pour melted butter all over them, loads of variatioms – I was looking last night after scribbling this one :)

  11. heidi

    I just saw this on a PBS cooking show- they also said that the potatoes work much better if you soak them in water for several minutes to cut down on the starch and this enables you to spread the potato layers more easily in the oven.
    Great tips and wonderful potatoes!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Heidi! I will try and see what difference it makes next time. I wonder if they would spit a lot when the water hits the hot fat. Usually I parboil potatoes for roasting which in turn makes a difference to the texture.

  12. Monica Shaw

    I’ve never heard of this before. What a cool way to do potatoes – I love it. I’m thinking I might try it with other types of root veg… swede in particular.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Some people sprinkle breadcrumbs over as well to get a crunchy textured top. Look forward to seeing what you come up with Monica :)

  13. Ruth

    These look great – and I too an a fan of the breadcrumb method! Lots of butter too – and it can’t go wrong!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Ruth, sweet of you to say – I wrote this at top speed after supper last night with all my exclamation marks out in full force. Butter, duck fat, good quality oil, whatever you like, I am sure they can be dressed up all sorts of ways. Slivers of bacon pushed down between the leaves, drizzled with cream and herbs, garlic…. paprika would make them extra rosy on top…. You could merge them with Jansson’s temptation and use anchovies and cream. The season of potato dishes is upon us once more. What’s your favourite ?

  14. Elaine

    I absolutely love these! They are a real treat with a Sunday roast although we have them over the Christmas period with slices of home baked ham and home made chutney. Interesting way of cutting them using chop sticks – will certainly try that. We leave the skin on (Nigella’s recipe) – not sure if this is better but will try peeling them and see what the difference is. Duck fat and butter is the way to go although I have never tried putting bacon inbetween the slices but that sounds really delicious.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Elaine – sounds delicious with home baked ham and chutney – I’ve never left the skins on but I’m sure they’re fine that way too. I haven’t seen Nigella’s recipe I will have a look, thanks :)

  15. Melanie

    Don’t you love it when a dish comes together just the way you had hoped? So glad the potatoes came out the way you like them! I’ve never had potatoes this way, but now I’ll have to try it. Hubby would definitely vote for lots of butter and much bacon and I think I would finish them with sprinkled on chives. So many variations to try.

  16. carla tomasi

    your potatoes..are now on my desktop…..hope i am allowed…..nothing nicer to look at when turning it on…cannot wait till Sunday….Thanks.xx

  17. Anne

    never heard of Hasselback potatoes but I want to try NOW ! thanks for sharing the recipe and Tip. Anne

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s a good technique and makes a change from regular potatoes, I hope you enjoy them Anne :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      :D It completely justifies that oversized pair of chopsticks that have lurked in the kitchen drawer for years ….

      I just had a thought…. an oversized pair of knitting needles would probably work too ?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hello Pig inthekitchen nice to meet you too! If you Google you will find all manner of Hasselbacks floating around, some are quite different from mine too :)

  18. azelias kitchen

    I keep forgetting about these Joanna, they look so good, will put them on the menu..I know the kids will love them as well as hubby. Love the stick idea for cutting!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Azelia, I hope you like them, don’t use enormous potatoes, then if you do slice through one it’s not too much of a disaster ;)

  19. emilysincerely

    oh Joanna, Genius is right. I have seen these potatoes. I LOVE POTATOES and have never had the patience to try this. Now, why not. how easy is that. thanks. Emily

    1. Joanna Post author

      Give it a go for a special meal one time. You know, it reminds me a bit of cutting radishes and putting them in water to fan out, again something I haven’t done in years ;)

  20. minadott

    I am gong to follow this recipe to the letter for dinner…just checked the details again ..the start of Christmas eating!

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