The recent craze for Hasselback potatoes traces back to Stockholm, Sweden, where the restaurant Hasselbacken first served them up as hasselbackspotatis in the 1940s. These potatoes are one of those food trends that I’ve shamelessly embraced. They’re cheap as a sack of potatoes and easy as popping into the oven, but somehow pretty enough to present for guests and versatile enough to compliment many an entrée. The sliced segments fan out as they cook, their edges getting crispy while the centre stays creamy.
To be honest, I’ve made these as a snack all on their own…sometimes you just need a bowlful of starch. I’m not sure where the potatoes-make-you-fat hate campaign started, but I can assure you that there are much worse things than a naturally occurring form of complex carbohydrates; you’ll be better off making these than tearing open a disappointingly small 100-calorie pack of Oreos, I promise!
Potatoes are also one of the few foods with which the UK is entirely self-sufficient. They’ve been grown in London since 1597 and are now hardly ever imported from outside the country. English varieties harvested late summer / early autumn are known as the ‘maincrop,’ available September through May.
I’ve used Maris Pipers here, but any medium-sized, oblong baking potato will work well. Check out this site for an astoundingly thorough guide and dazzlingly starchy array of all the potato varieties you could ever dream up. You can garnish these with any variety of herbs, cheeses, and sauces, but I like to keep it simple with sea salt, fresh garlic, rosemary, and a drizzle of olive oil brought back from Crete.
- 2 medium baking potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- olive oil
- sea salt / freshly ground pepper
If your potatoes insist on rolling around, shave off a small strip lengthwise so that they can sit on a flat bottom. Using a sharp knife (as you always should!), slice the potato thinly across, width-wise. To make things much easier, lay a wooden spoon or chopstick alongside the spud to act as a knife-stopper and prevent yourself from chopping all the way through.
Carefully stuff slices of garlic between the fanned pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and salt/pepper to taste.
Bake at 200ºC for about an hour, until the potato is cooked through and the edges are crispy.