I used to buy at Kroger these potatoes wrapped already to cook in the microwave oven. The potatoes always came out perfectly cooked inside, but the skin, of course, had no crunchy, delicious texture. Today I may start overly large potatoes in the microwave oven, but I always cover them in canola oil, salt, and wrap them up in foil before putting them into a 475 degree oven. It usually takes 50 minutes with me turning the potatoes over half way through until it’s cooked. A baked potato just like Outback Steakhouse might make is my goal.
So when I saw the accordion-like photos of the Hasselback potato with various toppings on them I was on board. I had thought that they were a Hasselbeck family recipe, like the NFL quarterback, Tim Hasselbeck. No. Not even close. It’s “back” not “beck.” Wikipedia says the dish is named for the Hasselbacken hotel and restaurant in Stockholm, where this dish originated.
I searched online for an easy recipe and read a few before settling on this one from The Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-hasselback-potatoes-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-199763.
As I waited for the oven to reach 425 degrees, I cleaned and dried three small-to-medium potatoes. I cut slices in the potatoes just enough to the bottom, but not all the way through each potato. I then mixed up two teaspoons of dried, chopped garlic (Litehouse brand) with a stick of melted butter and used a basting brush to slather it on the potatoes.
I drew up some of the tin foil around the potatoes, as you can see above, so that they were close together. Into the oven they went for 30 minutes. I used a paring knife to check to see how done they were then and poured the rest of the butter mixture over the potatoes, giving each one a generous amount of salt and pepper. I kept them in the oven for about 25 minutes more and found that the potatoes where soft inside and the skins were crisp. I was concerned about that because the butter mixture was boiling in the bottom of the casserole dish when I pulled it out of the oven.
I cannot multitask, by the way, so in my haste, I went to grab my kitchen tongs to take the potatoes out but instead my left index finger touched — however briefly — the scorching hot Pyrex dish. Oh.my.word. I loudly yelped. That burn was so bad I had leathery, red, shiny skin on that finger all night and the next day. I tried the first-aid spray I normally use on sunburn, but the best thing was filling a bowl with cool water and soaking the hand while I watched the latest episode of “Chopped.”
I think I overdid it on portions, but the Hasselback potatoes were cooked through. It was so much easier to tell that, too, than the way I have to unwrap the potatoes, test the insides, wrap them back up, etc. Like I said, I’ve bought the larger, grilling potatoes, I’ve cut into them and they have to stay in the oven for much longer than I’d like when the rest of the meal is ready. I am loving this alternative to traditional baked potatoes. I will have to try them with cheese, a la scalloped potato style, next time, like this one from TastyKitchen.com: http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2011/10/scalloped-hasselback-potatoes/
But when plating in future, I will remember not to hurry no matter how delicious the food nor how hungry I am. Who knew a burned finger could hurt for so long?