Tue Oct 30, 2012
Have you ever seen something and said, I have to make that? Well, that's exactly how Hasselback potatoes came into my life. I don't know why it took me so long to find these fanned spuds, but once I saw a picture of them for the first time, it was only a matter of days until I was in the kitchen concocting my own photogenic taters—and don't they just look lovely?
The days between when I first saw Hasselback potatoes and when I was actually making them, were spent researching the best methods of slicing and cooking. I got a big boost from Cook's Country—the Cook's Illustrated/Country empire is often a starting point for my own recipe development—whose recipe made sense and quick work of what seemed like a confusing and difficult task.
The challenge was creating a thin-cut fan without slicing all the way through the spud. The solution to this was simple, but not one I would have figured out on my own without a fair amount of trial and error.
It started with slicing off the bottom of the potato to create an even and stable base. Then the potato was set between two chopsticks and the 1/8-inch slices were made, with the chopsticks acting as a stop for the knife so each slice was uniform and none cut all the way through the potato.
After being sliced, the potatoes were carefully washed under running water. This removed some of surface starch on the spud, preventing the blades of the fan from sticking closed during cooking.
The potatoes got a quick zap in the microwave to jump start cooking—a method I often use to speed up cooking potatoes the grill, which seems to have no adverse effects that I can tell. Then thinly sliced pieces of garlic were tucked in between the blades of the fan, and each potato was topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
Even partially cooked, these still took a solid 40 minutes on the grill, over indirect heat, until they were done. What I was looking for was light crisping around the outer edges of each fan blade, while the inside was cooked to a texture that was soft, but retained structural integrity, so the spuds didn't fall apart.
What came off the grill was exactly what I wanted, picture perfect fanned spuds. While they were just as pretty as can be, I was a little less than thrilled with the overall texture. I was expecting crispness like great grilled fries, matched with the creaminess of a baked potato, and while both of those were accomplished, neither were done to their full potential. Maybe the best of both worlds in one whole potato is too much to ask for, or maybe I just have to keep at it to perfect the process. Either way, it was fun to make these and great to photograph, so there will probably be more coming your way in the future.
Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic and Parmesan
Method adapted from Cook's Country
- Prep Time:
- 25 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 55 Minutes
- 4 servings
- 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese (2oz thinly sliced, 2oz grated)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cut off a thin slice of each potato lengthwise to create a even base for potato to rest on. Slice off ends of each potato. Rest potato between two chopsticks or wooden spoons to act as a stop for the knife and carefully cut vertical slits in each potato about every 1/8-inch.
- Rinse potato under running water, fanning out to rinse inside of cut slits. Place potatoes on a plate and microwave at high for 5 minutes. Flip potatoes over and microwave again for an additional 5 minutes.
- Tuck slices of garlic and Parmesan in slits in the potatoes, it does not have to be in every slit. Brush potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle tops with grated Parmesan.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place potatoes on cool side of grill, cover, and cook until soft in the center and crisp around the edges, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from grill, let cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately while still warm.