I’ve mentioned before that it isn’t until you start researching a recipe (or technique) that you find out that some things aren’t as old as they initially appear, the Hasselback potato being a case in point. The majority of sources seem to suggest that Hasselback potatoes were invented at the Hasselbacken hotel and restaurant, Stockholm, Sweden in the 1700s and have long been a traditional Swedish dish. However the truth indicates that though the Hasselback potato recipe was invented at the Hasselbacken restaurant, it wasn’t until the 1950s that they were developed and are still a popular item on their menu today. Like most food history there is still even a dispute to who actually created this artful potato. The majority say that Hasselbackspotatis were created by Leif Elisson in 1953, who was a student chef at the restaurant, though the restaurant school principal invented them in 1955. Maybe someone can shed some more light on the real history of this simple, but delicious potato dish.
These wonderful potatoes are like a cross between baked potatoes and roasted potatoes. Slightly crispy on the outside, while still soft and creamy on the inside. The recipe itself, if you can call it that isn’t complicated at all, but what puts a lot of people off making them is trying to make the accordion or fan cut accurately. There is a kitchen secret that once you know about it, then the process of making the cuts for the Hasselback potato becomes a breeze.
The secret to making Hasselback potatoes is to use a large wooden spoon. Place the potato onto the spoon and cut thin slices across the potato and the edges of the wooden spoon will stop the knife from cutting all the way through the potato. Simple! No more trying to delicately cut the potato by eye or any fancy gadgets, though I did notice that a Danish company (The Swedes won’t be pleased about that) has tried to capitalise on the perceived difficulty in making them by creating a special Hasselback potato cutting board.
Hasselback Potatoes Recipe
Servings: 2 medium potatoes per person
- 2 medium sized potatoes per person
- 4 tbsp of butter, olive oil or duck fat
- Coarse Salt
- Pre heat the oven to 220C (425F)
- First prepare the potatoes. If you wish to leave the skins on, then give them a wash, otherwise peel them.
Cut slices into the potato, roughly 3-4mm (1/8 inch) using a wooden spoon as a cutting board (see picture above)
- Place the potatoes onto a baking tray. Brush with the butter and sprinkle with salt.
- Put the baking tray into the oven for 60 mins, re basting with the butter from the tray after about 30 mins, making sure that it gets into the openings of the potato
If you want to be more adventurous, you could sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the potatoes for the last 20 mins of cooking, or treat them more like a baked potato and load them up with things like bacon, cream cheese, chives, or even slivered almonds. Another alternative I’ve seen, but yet to try is making a gratin like a Dauphinoise, buy using Hasselback potatoes instead of horizontal potato slices.
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