If potatoes could talk, they’d demand to be grilled hasselback potatoes
Of all the food groups, grilled hasselback potatoes have to be one of my favorites. They’re not only impressive on a plate, they’re also potato paradise. What other style of potato offers a crispy outside while maintaining a flavor-packed, tender and creamy inside?
The concept of hasselback potatoes is actually simple, yet ingenious. Potatoes are thinly sliced, but not all the way through. These “slices” cause the potato to crisp up, but remain soft like a baked potato in the middle. That’s only the beginning. Imagine, if you will, all the good stuff a person could stuff in between those slices, should a person want to stuff a lot of good stuff into a potato. Butter, cheese, herbs and bacon are just a few that come to mind.
So, what’s the story of hasselback potatoes and why do they have such a funny name? The hasselback potato originated in Stockholm, Sweden and was the creation of the chefs at the Scandic Hasselbacken hotel. Thus…Hasselbacken potatoes, or hasselbacks. Since they’re similar to an accordion, you may see them referred to as “Accordion Potatoes” which is what much of Europe often calls them.
Although, grilled hasselback potatoes are relatively easy to make, there is a little bit of technique to master before one can become a hasselback pro. Primarily, it comes down to the slicing. Clean and straight slices are essential as is controlling the cut so you don’t go completely through the potato.
I’ll do the best that I can to guide you through the process in my below instructions, but practice will be your best guide. As far as flavoring the spunky spuds, the world is your palette. I’ll also share the process of cooking the hasselbacks in the oven, if you’re not in the mood to fire up the grill.
One thing is certain, whether it be oven baked hasselback potatoes or grilled hasselback potatoes, the presentation is sure to impress even the most discriminating dinner guests.
Put on your patience cap, grab a sharp knife and let’s go wow the crowd with a batch of grilled hasselback potatoes.
- 4 large potatoes such as Russets or Yukon Golds
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted or bacon grease
- salt and pepper to taste
- any additional flavor ingredients e.g. bacon, cheese, chives, herbs
- Prepare a hot grill for indirect cooking. (Only half the grill has fire.)
- Choose choice potatoes and wash well. Pat dry. Peel them if you wish.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the potato. 1/4-inch slices are perfect. Cut straight down and stop about a 1/4-inch before cutting completely through the potato. I'll agree, this is the tricky part. I use the wooden spoon rest I showed above as a stop. Other items that work are the handles of two wooden utensils, two pencils or chopsticks, placed on both sides of the potato. If you're steady in your knife skills, you may not need a stop at all, but that's not my case. Until you become proficient in the cutting technique, another trick is to cut off about a 1/4-inch slice from the bottom of the potato. This makes the potato flat on the bottom and steadies it for more accurate cutting.
- Microwave potatoes for 8 to 10 minutes on high. Rotate and repeat. Allow to cool until they're safe to handle.
- Completely brush each potato with the melted butter. Try to get some down in between the slices, if possible. Don't worry that every slice gets some butter, we'll be repeating this step.
- Place potatoes on the grill, opposite the fire. Close lid and allow to cook for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Each 15 minutes, brush the potatoes with the melted butter. You'll notice that the potatoes are beginning to fan out as they cook. This gives us a bit more space between the slices for the butter and additional flavorings to seep in. It's during the final butter brushing that any flavorings such as salt, pepper, bacon bits or herbs should be added.
- Remove potatoes from the grill and hit them one last time with the butter. Garnish with any additional ingredients, such as sour cream, cheese or chives. Serve immediately.
1. Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C) with the rack placed in the middle.
2. Prepare potatoes as indicated above, but skip the microwave.
3. Cook for 60 minutes or until potatoes are tender, brushing with the butter each 20 minutes.