Hasselback Potatoes are fantastic and a very simple way to turn regular potatoes from dull to delish. With just the assistance of a knife, some butter and breadcrumbs, you have a side dish that’s not only very pretty in all its hominess, but also deliciously tasty.
It’s the mid ’80s at the Bergmans back in Stockholm, Sweden. We are expecting dinner guests. Mom and Dad take turns in the kitchen, running back and forth between the stove, dining room, and bedroom trying to perfect both their own outfits, the food, and the table decoration at the same time. They have poured themselves a small whiskey each, in those special whiskey glasses that look like oak trees. If you fill them with just the right amount of whiskey and slowly wobble them back and forth, they produce a unique clucking sound. Dad demonstrates the clucking to every new dinner guest. I find it very fascinating.
It smells good. Warm and soft. Like an open fire wrapped in a velvet blanket. Something is roasting in the oven. Probably chicken and Hasselback Potatoes. And when Hasselback Potatoes are on the menu, you just know things are a little bit more festive than normal. That it isn’t your regular Tuesday dinner. It’s the weekend, and the guests are important. I myself haven’t got the faintest idea of how these Hasselback Potatoes are made (or that they were first introduced at the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm), but I’m enchanted by them. The fine cuts. The crispy top and the soft inside. The golden bread crumbs. The enchanting flavor. It feels international and grown-up. Fancy.
A few hours later, a very young Kalle Bergman is dozing off on the couch after dinner, as the evening continues in the open kitchen. The grown-ups are speaking. Arguing. Laughing. Cheering. I’m not disturbed by it, slowly rocked to sleep by the murmuring.
To me Hasselback Potatoes, along with a few other dishes, are a lost symbol of my childhood. A more innocent time. But it disappeared for some reason, both from dinner tables and restaurant menus. Exactly when and why, I don’t know, but probably something new and trendy got in the way of it. My parents’ generation grew tired of it, and the generation that followed never really discovered it.
But Hasselback Potatoes are fantastic and a very simple way to turn regular potatoes from dull to delish. With just the assistance of a knife, a brush of some butter and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs, you have a side dish that’s not only very pretty in all its hominess, but also super tasty.
Perfectly tender, perhaps even topped with some of your favorites: cheese, garlic, bacon, herbs, sour cream chives (not the traditional recipe, but who am I to judge?) – they are fancy looking and incredibly tasty.
How to cut Hasselback Potatoes:
To get perfectly sliced Hasselback Potatoes every time, rest the potato between two wooden chopsticks or two wooden spoons. Gently slice the potato into 1/5 inch thick slices, stopping when the chopsticks stop your knife. Be careful not to slice all the way through.
Butter vs. Olive Oil:
I’ve seen a number of recipes online using olive oil, but let me make one thing very clear – it’s butter or nothing in the Bergman household.
Best Potatoes to use for Hasselback Potatoes:
Yukon golds, or Russet potatoes are by far my favorites for this dish. They are starchy, and great for baking, frying and mashing – and Hasselback potatoes are kind of a mix of all three techniques.
Kalle Bergman is a food writer and media entrepreneur who is the founder of Honest Cooking and PAIR Magazine. As a food writer, his writing has been regularly featured in publications like Gourmet, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and Serious Eats. He is obsessed with simple food, more often than not from his native Scandinavia.