Sunday, September 4, 2011

spectacular Swedish spuds

Potatoes are apparently much fancier in Sweden.  These are known as Hasselback potatoes, named after the Swedish restaurant that first made them.  Gorgeous, huh?  I came across this recipe on a new but addicting phenomenon, Pinterest.  I haven't figured it all out yet, but it's a website that lets you gather things you enjoy that you come across online and categorize them and then see what others are drawn to.  My "recipe" section's getting pretty full!

Steak was on the menu last night, so I thought it deserved something a little fancy (though it's hard to beat potatoes cubed and roasted with onions, garlic, s&p and evoo).  These took a bit of work, and so aren't something that will become, say, my Wednesday dinner routine, but for something special they're just the ticket.  I used 6 medium-to-small-sized Yukon gold potatoes, which I like because of the rich flavor, thin peel and creaminess.  (And to me they're closest to my beloved Irish potatoes.)

To get started, go ahead and preheat your oven to 425ºF/220ºC.  Unless of course you live in Texas, and can just open your door to reach the desired temperature in your house.  Sigh.  I dream of the day I can wear a scarf again, I really do.  I digress...back to those spectacular spuds:

Cut a small slice off the bottom of each potato, allowing it to lay flat on your board. Unless you're Edward Scissorhands, there's no way you can make the delicate cuts needed on a potato that's rolling all over the place.

Make thin slices (bout 3-4mm in size...but if you bother to measure, you're taking me too seriously ha!) into the potato, cutting almost all the way through.  This is tricky...just go slowly and you'll get the hang of it.  If you accidentally cut all the way through, there are bigger problems in the world.  Don't sweat it, cook it anyway.

Take 4 cloves of garlic...

...and smash 'em with the flat part of your knife, otherwise known as Free Therapy.  This will help the skins come off easily.

Finely slice the garlic.

Now place the garlic slices between each layer of the potatoes.  If you have an album you've been wanting to listen to, say the new Bon Iver, this is a good time to do that, because it takes a little while to get that garlic good-n-stuck inside them taters.

Dot butter on top...

...drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil...

...and salt and pepper those terrific tubers.  Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes, until golden on top and tender when you poke them with a fork.  

In the meantime, chop some parsley.  (Not that I expect this to take you 45-60 minutes!  Grab a book and a glass of chianti while you wait, or prepare whatever else you're having with your potatoes.)

Here's that handsome Hasselback again.  I scattered the parsley on top once they were out of the oven and paired them with simple sides of...

...salad, steak and grilled corn.  Just phenomenal.  Thank you, Sweden!

Bon appetit!

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