Eskimo Nebula

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Join Me for Merienda: Jessified Hasselback Style Potatoes

Hello again blogosphere and hungry people out there who have been patiently waiting for this post.

The first thing I should tell you is that my version was inspired by a segment of America's Test Kitchen; which is a neat show with good information (even though the host is sometimes a bit annoying ;p). I would have linked directly to the site, but it is a paid membership site; so it doesn't allow you to access any information without that aforementioned paid membership. Anyway, kudos to the ATK team for the inspiration and tips.

Potatoes: There are so many varieties out there, yet the most popular preparation of them in the U.S. is cut up and fried. I'm not saying that fries are bad because I think that most of us have a hankering for them every now and then, but there are so many ways to prepare all manner of potatoes; so why don't we try something different for once?

Hasselback potatoes originated in Hasselbacken, Sweden (hence the name). I'm not going to give a culinary history lesson right now, but basically it boils down to some chefs who were bored at this restaurant and wanted to come up with a new way to prepare potatoes et voila, the rest is history.

What exactly makes these Hasselback style potatoes, so appealing? Well, the manner in which they are prepared makes them both crispy and tender. The outer is crisp and crunchy  while the interior remains moist and tender. They are also basted in olive oil and dusted with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and that alone makes them quite attractive to my taste buds. The original recipe calls for the potatoes to be covered in a topping of buttered crumbs, cheese and herbs, but I prefer to keep them plain; so that I can top, them as I like and to order of my guests. 

The original batch

Jessified Hasselback Style Potatoes- V, GF

6-10 Organic Russet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Himalayan Pink or Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Kitchen equipment needed:
Roasting pan
Cutting Board
Chef's Knife
1 pair of plain Bamboo chopsticks
1 Large mixing bowl
1 Microwaveable plate
Brush for basting


Preheat oven to 380F

Scrub and wash the potatoes very well and dry them off. Figuring out which side of the potato is the flattest, cut off 1/4 inch from the bottom of the potato. Proceed to cut off 1/4 inch of both ends of the potato.( I don't throw away the removed portions. I put them a bowl of cold water and save them for another recipe. Center the potato between a pair of chopsticks (serving as a guard to prevent you from slicing all the way through the potato) and slice about 1/4 inch equidistantly, end to end. 

This potato has a flat bottom, but wasn't insulted by this observation.
This potato looks like it's either on stilts or crutches.
This looks like some kind of magic trick.

You will have to 'sacrifice' a pair of chopsticks for this preparation;  so don't use your fancy lacquered  pair!

As you finish slicing each potato, place it into a large bowl with cold water in it. Once you've prepared the potatoes, you should make sure to individually swish each potato around in the water, making sure to wash out any excess starch, especially between the cut slices. If you skip this step; the excess starch will act as a glue and the slices will not splay properly or at all, when you bake them.

Cut potato going for a bath.

 Pat the potatoes dry slightly and place them on a microwaveable plate and cook them for about 12 minutes. Let the potatoes cool a few minutes before placing them on the roasting pan (I use tongs to move them from the plate to the pan). Brush olive oil on each potato, making sure to get between the slices. Season the potatoes with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes on the middle rack of your oven. 

In the microwave getting par-cooked.

After the ride in the microwave.

These potatoes are all oiled up and have somewhere hot to go.
The potatoes should look nicely splayed and golden. At this point, you could potentially top it with the traditional topping and then put them back under the broiler for a few minutes until the Vegan cheese melts and gets slightly bubbly, but as I mentioned earlier; I like to have options =)

I dressed one of the original batch with some Daiya brand Vegan Cheddar and my homemade Parsley and Almond Pesto. Delicious =)

2nd batch with a few slices waving hello.


Look at those gorgeous golden bottoms. The potatoes are suing me for harassment.

I also tried a batch with regular standard sweet potatoes and they came out okay, but I think that I want to try some other varieties of sweet potato; to find the the best one for the Hasselback preparation =)

The sweet potato batch experiment.
Sweet potato looking sweet, but I'm still look for the 'one.'

If you have any leftovers (which is highly unlikely; if you've got guests with you); they do keep well for a few days, but the best time to eat them is when they're fresh out of the oven. If you do have to reheat them; I would recommend reviving them in the oven, but I have also tried reheating them in the microwave and they do come out decently, but the oven would be the better choice =)

This is a very simple recipe albeit a bit labor intensive in preparation, but it's a labor of love if you appreciate a beautiful and delicious end result ;)

Wishing you all good health and happy cooking!