My dad made these once when I was a kid, and though I now know they’re called Hasselback potatoes—after the Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm—our family always just referred to them as “Swedish potatoes.” I think their popularity must have been a part of that whole 1960s rage for all things Scandinavian. (My folks still have the teak furniture they bought back then, and who my age doesn’t have memories of going to those gorge-fest smorgasbord restaurants?)
I remember Dad’s attempt at these potatoes as being underdone, and having made them myself for the first time the other night I can see why. The suckers take a LONG time to cook: These were in a 425º F oven for almost three hours. But, boy, was it worth the wait! (I think that if I use a waxy variety, rather than Russets, next time, they’ll cook faster.)
Start by slicing the potatoes almost all the way through, as thinly as you can. I put two chopsticks under them to keep the knife from cutting all the way down:
Put the already-sliced potatoes in ice water to keep them from turning brown, and to help them open up a bit, as you finish slicing the rest.
Traditional Hasselback potatoes just have butter and maybe bread crumbs sprinkled on top. But I decided to stuff minced garlic between the slices—for the taste, and also as a way to force the slices apart and thereby maybe cook faster (wishful thinking, it turns out).
Once they’re all cut and stuffed, place the potatoes in a baking dish and drizzle them liberally with olive oil (trying to get as much as possible between the slices). Season with salt and pepper and bake them, uncovered, at 425º F. After about an hour, dab each one with butter, and then continue baking.
As noted above, mine took almost three hours to become tender and crispy enough for my taste, so do make sure you start them early enough for you dinner. But the good news is that once done, they can sit warming in the oven, and they’ll keep their crispness until time for service. So no worries if they are done too soon.
Robin pronounced them wonderful, and she is a great potato aficionado.
Speaking of Robin, I thought I’d show you an amusing photo of her:
Can you guess what it is?
They are brass door handles soaking in Maraschino cherry juice. Bet you didn’t know that the juice cleans tarnished copper and brass. Amazing, the things you can learn in blogs, non?