People are always disproportionately impressed by hasselback potatoes. Disproportionately because they are one of the easiest potato-based sides to make: just a few knife cuts, and tossed in some olive oil. They don’t require the par-boiling or roughing up of roast potatoes, and are less fragile than the simply boiled variety. As well as being handsome, they are buttery-soft inside, with crisp, taught skins, and crunchy bits where the knife has cut – and they have the added bonus of cutting faster than potatoes which remain in tact. The cuts increase the surface area, meaning greater crispness, which can only ever be a good thing when it comes to potatoes – and as they roast, the cuts force the potato to splay, to bloom.
I have adopted Nigella’s nifty trick for ensuring deep cuts into the potato which doesn’t actually cut through the spud: place the potato onto a cook’s wooden spoon, and slice downwards with a knife, keeping the cuts as close together as possible. The curves of the spoon will prevent you cutting all the way through, and keep your cuts even.
They sit alongside most summery dishes: charred, barbecued meats, puffy, cheesy quiches, fresh, vinaigrette-drenched salads with crisp french beans and baby pink radishes. And you can dress them with whatever you wish: chimichurri sauce, blue cheese dressing, sour cream with lemon zest and a single clove or raw garlic, finely grated, or add chopped rosemary or thyme before cooking. But served as they are, roasted simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, hot from the oven, and it’s hard to go wrong.
Make: Serves 4, as a side
Takes: 5 minutes
Bakes: 40 minutes
1 kg new potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 180°C. Pour three tablespoons of olive oil into a medium-sized roasting dish and pop this in the oven to heat up while you prep the potatoes.
- Place a potato onto a cook’s wooden spoon, and slice downwards with a knife, keeping the cuts as close together as possible. Repeat with all the potatoes.
- Put the potatoes cut-down into the hot oiled tin, and then carefully turn the potatoes over so that the cuts are now facing upwards. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and ground pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crisp. Check that the flesh is tender; if not, return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, then serve.