Hasselback potatoes are clearly the most impressive spuds to ever call themselves a side dish. It’s also like having all of your potato dreams come true at once: these potatoes have the crispy edges of your favorite french fries, but with middles as creamy as mashed potatoes — plus the added bonus of being, essentially, wholesome baked potatoes in clever disguise. Want one more reason to make hasselback potatoes tonight? How about the fact that despite their frilly fancy-pants appearance, they take no more time and little more effort than your average foil-wrapped baked potato. We can thank the Swedes — and the chefs at Restaurant Hasselbacken, in particular — for the invention of this particular style of potato. They also sometimes go under the name Accordion Potatoes or (my favorite) Pillbug Potatoes. Whatever you call hasselback potatoes, the result is the same: a single potato, sliced into thin wedges but left joined at the bottom, baked until the layers fan out into rounds of crispy bliss.
4 large potatoes, Yukon Gold, Russet, or Red Bliss
4 tablespoons melted butter, olive oil, duck fat, bacon fat, coconut oil, or a mix
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Optional extras: minced fresh herbs, spices, grated cheese, bread crumbs, panko crumbs
Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Wash and dry the potatoes: Scrub the potatoes clean and pat them dry. Alternatively, you can peel the skins off. Cut slits in the potatoes, leaving the bottom intact: Cut slits into the potato, stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. Space the slices 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch apart. You can rest the potato in a large serving and use that as a guide for when to stop slicing — slice straight down and when your knife hits the edge of the spoon, stop slicing.
Brush the potatoes with half the fat: Arrange the potatoes in a baking dish. Brush the potatoes all over with butter or other fat, including the bottoms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper: Sprinkle the potatoes generously with salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes, then brush with butter: Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes. At this point, the layers will start separating. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the potatoes again with fat — you can nudge the layers apart if they’re still sticking together. Make sure some of the fat drips down into the space between the slices.
Bake another 30 to 40 minutes: Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and easily pieced in the middles with a paring knife. If you’re adding any extras, stuff those into the slits and sprinkle over the top 5 to 10 minutes before the end of cooking. (Total baking time is 60 to 70 minutes for average potatoes; if your potatoes are on the small side or are larger, adjust cooking time accordingly.) Serve immediately: hasselback potatoes are best straight from the oven while the edges are at their crispiest.