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How to make Hasselback potatoes

By Emma Christensen/The Kitchn.com

This article was published March 27, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

Hasselback Potatoes

The Hasselback potato is clearly the most impressive spud to ever call itself a side dish. It’s also like having all of your potato dreams come true at once: these potatoes have the crispy edges of your favorite french fries, but with middles as creamy as mashed potatoes — plus the added bonus of being, essentially, wholesome baked potatoes in clever disguise.

Want one more reason to make them tonight? How about the fact that despite their frilly fancy-pants appearance, they take no more time and little more effort than your average foil-wrapped baked potato.

We can thank the Swedes — and the chefs at Restaurant Hasselbacken, in particular — for the invention of this particular style of potato. They also sometimes go under the name accordion potatoes or (my favorite) pillbug potatoes. Whatever you call it, the result is the same: a single potato, sliced into thin wedges but left joined at the bottom, baked until the layers fan out into rounds of crispy bliss.

You start with a few potatoes. Any potato will do. I love Yukon Golds for this, but you can also use russets, red potatoes or even tiny new potatoes. Slice straight down into the potato, but stop just short of cutting all the way through. You can rest the potato on a large serving spoon to use as a guide. Make your slices as thick or as thin as you like — my knife skills tend to average slices that are 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick.

Next comes the butter. Or the olive oil. Or any other fat or mix of fats that you like. I love a mix of butter and olive oil for their richness and flavor, but I’m dying to try duck fat. You don’t need much — just enough to brush the outside before baking and then brush again halfway through baking.

That second application of fat is key. When you first cut the potatoes, the slices are too tight for the butter to get down in the cracks. But about halfway through cooking, the potatoes start to fan out. This gives you some space to coax some butter down into the nooks and crannies, plus the second coating ensures crispy perfection.

Now, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like those accordion folds are just begging to be stuffed with some shredded cheese and minced herbs. Perhaps some crumbled bacon, too. In fact, I could definitely see any number of favorite baked-potato toppings making their way into this dish, can’t you?

Make a few Hasselback potatoes for a family dinner or a whole sheet pan of them for a dinner party. My recipe here is for four potatoes, but you can certainly multiply that for a crowd. In my opinion, any dinner — big or small, casual or fancy — can only be improved with the addition of Hasselback potatoes.

Hasselback Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes, Yukon Gold, russet or red bliss

4 tablespoons melted butter, olive oil, duck fat, bacon fat, coconut oil or a mix

Salt

Pepper

Optional extras: Minced fresh herbs, spices, grated cheese, bread crumbs, panko crumbs

Equipment:

Chef’s knife

Large serving spoon (optional)

Baking dish, oven-safe skillet or baking sheet

Directions:

Heat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the lower-middle position.

Wash and dry the potatoes: Scrub the potatoes clean and pat them dry. Alternatively, you can peel the skins off.

Cut slits into the potato, stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. Space the slices 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch apart. You can rest the potato in a large serving spoon and use that as a guide for when to stop slicing — slice straight down, and when your knife hits the edge of the spoon, stop slicing.

Arrange the potatoes in a baking dish. Brush the potatoes all over with half the butter or other fat, including the bottoms.

Sprinkle the potatoes generously with salt and pepper.

Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes. At this point, the layers will start separating. Remove the pan from the oven, and brush the potatoes again with fat — you can nudge the layers apart if they’re still sticking together. Make sure some of the fat drips down into the space between the slices.

Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and easily pierced in the middles with a paring knife. If you’re adding any extras, stuff those into the slits and sprinkle over the top 5 to 10 minutes before the end of cooking. (Total baking time is 60 to 70 minutes for average potatoes; if your potatoes are on the small side or are larger, adjust cooking time accordingly.)

Serve immediately: These potatoes are best straight from the oven while the edges are at their crispiest.

Emma Christensen is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit comments or questions to kitchn@apartmenttherapy.com.

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