RECIPE: Hasselback potatoes
The key to a Hasselbacked potato is making extremely slim slices through most, but not all, of the potato.
When done properly, they are so thin the potato will look like a Slinky.
While cooking, the slices fan open, allowing the flavoured butter to permeate the centre of the potato.
As the butter melts, it pools on the bottom of the pan, roasting the potato from the bottom up. It's more than just a delicious recipe - it's a beautiful presentation.
Hasselback Potatoes (Serves 12)
Leftover hasselback potatoes are a superb start to any hash and a nice breakfast, served with a fried egg.
1,8kg russet potatoes or sweet potatoes
1,8kg (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup panko
Scrub the potatoes and peel, if desired.
To "hasselback," place a potato on a cutting board. Snugly arrange two chopsticks or two identical round handles of wooden spoons at either side of the potato. (If needed, slice a slim piece from the bottom of the potato so that it will sit squarely.)
Using a sharp knife, make 0.5cm slices along the length of the potato, using the chopsticks as a brake, so that while slicing, the blade stops before cutting all the way through the potato. Be aware of the ends of the potatoes, taking care not to slice all the way through. When finished, the top of the potato will fan out slightly. Place the potatoes in a bowl of ice water to keep them from browning while cutting the others.
In a medium bowl, stir together the softened butter, chives, parsley, thyme, sage, garlic, salt and pepper until well blended.
Fold in the panko. (At this point, the butter may be shaped into a roll or stick and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees with the rack in the middle.
Thoroughly dry the potatoes. Using your fingertips, slather the potatoes with about half of the buttery crumbs, taking time to press the mixture between the slices. This will be challenging as the potato will be stiff and uncooperative. Once buttered, place the potatoes in a baking pan, casserole dish or cast-iron skillet, fitting them snugly in one layer. Place a piece of parchment over the potatoes and cover the dish with foil, sealing it well.
Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and parchment and plunge a fork into the centre of the largest potato. It should yield and be soft but not collapse. If it is still hard, replace the parchment and foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. If softened, draw the tines of the fork along the top of each potato to fan the slices. Plop nuggets of the remaining butter-crumb mixtures over the top of each potato. Bake, uncovered, an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and yielding and slightly crisped on the surface.
Spoon the herbed butter over the top of the potatoes and serve.
The Washington Post