Hasselback Potatoes--and a Trick!
by Victoria Challancin
Swedish Hasselback-style potatoes always dazzle. The bespeak of far more effort than is really required to make them. Large or small, these potatoes make an impressive presentation and a tasty side dish as well.
Essentially, Hasselback potatoes are baked potatoes which have been partially pre-sliced, but not cut all the way into slices. Often this is accomplished by setting the potato in a large wooden spoon, using the spoon to stop the knife from cutting all the way through. You want your potatoes to remain in one piece, just with narrow cuts so that they fan out and allow the flavorings to penetrate. I have also tried using the handles of wooden spoons placed on either side of the potato to use as a guide for the knife. Tricky. This year I came up with an idea that worked perfectly. Care to see what worked for me? Read on...
Because potatoes take so long to cook at the 6400-foot altitude of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I live, I often parboil them before baking. This year I chose baby white potatoes for my Hasselbacks and parboiled them before slicing them for baking. How did I achieve such perfectly spaced slices? With an egg slicer! How had I not thought of this before? It worked perfectly. You just have to be careful not to cut the potatoes all the way through at the last minute of slicing. Would I do anything differently? Yes. I would have peeled, or at least partially peeled the potatoes before cutting them. Also, I usually add chopped rosemary, but it didn't seem to go with the rest of my menu this time.
by Victoria Challalncin
1 lb small white potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Coarse sea salt to taste
Peel the potatoes--or at least peel the top half. Place in a pot with cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until approximately three-quarters cooked. You should be able to pierce them easily with the point of a sharp knife. Drain and when cool enough to handle, slice a small piece off of the bottom of any potatoes that are too round to lie flat. Cut the potatoes approximately three-quarters of the way through using a wire egg slicer. Place potatoes in a baking dish.
In a small bowl mix the olive oil with the garlic and black pepper. Drizzle the potatoes with the mixture, turning gently to coat. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt to taste. Bake in a 375 degree oven until cooked completely and golden brown, approximately 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Serve hot.
Variation: Add finely chopped fresh rosemary to the oil mixture.