This Swedish Way of Making Potatoes Is the Absolute Best Way, No Question
Before we begin, let’s be clear about one thing: Potatoes in any form are delicious. Mashed, fried, baked, roasted—there’s no bad way to eat these splendid spuds. But there is a way that emphasizes the potato’s best features (the A-line skirt of cooking, if you will).
When done right, potatoes should be soft and fluffy on the inside, and delightfully crispy on the outside. And if they happen to be vehicles for tasty toppings like garlic, cheese, herbs and bacon, it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
This Swedish method of making potatoes covers all of the above… and then some. Introducing Hasselback potatoes. You may have heard of this cooking technique that transforms the humble vegetable into an accordion-like shape, but what you probably don’t know is that it comes from Scandinavia; specifically, chef Leif Ellison, who came up with the dish in 1953 while working at Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm. Tusen tack, Leif. (That’s “a thousand thanks” in Swedish.)
I’m Swedish, and I grew up with Hasselback potatoes. But because I was under the impression that they were too difficult to make, I avoided cooking them until a few weeks ago, when I was hit with a pang of nostalgia and attempted a recipe. And guess what? These spuds might look fancy, but they’re actually ridiculously easy to make—and totally delicious. Think of Hasselback potatoes as a cross between crispy fries and soft mashed spuds with the added benefit of all those crevices to catch toppings and sauce. It’s basically the equivalent of potato nirvana. Here’s how to make them at home.
What you’ll need: Some potatoes (I used russets, but any potato will work), a few tablespoons of fat (olive oil or butter are excellent choices), salt, pepper and any additional toppings
What to do: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash the potatoes and pat them dry. Next, carefully slice a row of thin slits into each potato, stopping before you cut all the way through (you want to keep the bottom intact). Place the potatoes in a baking dish and brush them with olive oil, butter or other fat. Season with salt and pepper and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven, brush them with more fat and then put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done. If you’re adding any toppings (cheese is never a bad idea), sprinkle them on top of the spuds five minutes before the end of cooking. And that’s it—you have reached peak potato perfection.
(Psst: If you want a step-by-step guide with precise measurements, check out this recipe for Hasselback potatoes.)
One more thing: To make the slicing easier, place two wooden spoons or chopsticks side by side with the potato in the middle. They will act as a guide to keep you from cutting too far down. Or you could buy this special Hasselback potato cutting board, which seems highly unnecessary, but at $9, why the heck not? (It could also double as a fancy soap dish.)