We can thank the ingenious chefs at the Restaurant Hasselbacken in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, for coming up with this idea in the 1940s. Hasselbackspotatis were an instant hit with the Swedes and eventually emigrated to other countries under a variety of names, such as Accordion Potatoes, or Pillbug Potatoes. Whatever you choose to call them, these are potatoes made in heaven, as crispy as French fries or chips, yet as creamy as mashed, but still looking much like a baked potato. The slicing method opens up the opportunity to add optional extra flavours of your choice.
- 4 large baking potatoes
- 1 tablespoon melted butter,
- 1 tablespoon of garlic oil
- 1 tablespoon of melted duck fat
- 1 tablespoon of melted bacon fat
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- sea salt
- minced fresh herbs of your choice (optional)
- spices of your choice (optional)
- grated cheese of your choice (optional)
- bread crumbs (optional)
- panko crumbs (optional)
Heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F with the rack below the middle position.
You can either scrub and clean the potatoes, patting dry the skin, or you can peel them. Your choice.
Cut slits into the potato, stopping just before you reach the bottom so that the slices stay connected. Make the slices about ¼ of an inch / 5mm or less apart (see photo).
Place the potatoes in a baking dish or tray.
Mix together the melted butter, garlic oil, melted duck fat, melted bacon fat, and coconut oil.
Brush the potatoes all over with the butter, fat and oil mixture, including the bottoms.
Sprinkle the potatoes generously with sea salt and pepper.
Put the tray in the oven and bake the potatoes for 30 minutes.
When you see the slices starting to open up, remove the pan from the oven and brush the potatoes again with the butter and oil mixture. If any slices are sticking together, prise them apart gently. Make sure the butter and oil mixture gets right down between the slices.
Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and you can easily slide a point of a sharp knife into them.
If you’re adding any or all of the optional extras, push those into the slits and sprinkle over the top 5 to 10 minutes before the end of cooking. Your total baking time should be around 60-70 minutes for average-sized baking potatoes, but adjust this if they are smaller or larger, accordingly. You can either mix these together for use in every slit, or insert them into their own slits, keeping them apart so that each slit has its individual flavour.
They are at their crispiest best when they come straight from the oven, so try not to delay serving them.
When slicing the potatoes, a good tip is to put the potato in a shallow-sided tray, or lay a spoon down alongside it. When the knife reaches the lip of the tray, or spoon, or whatever else you might use, that’s when to stop cutting.
The Restaurant Hasselback started out as a tavern in the 1700s, just a traditional red hut in a thorn thicket, which is how it got its name. By 1853 it had developed into a grand building in what was now the upmarket area of the city, where its grandiose celebrations were enjoyed by Sweden’s upper class. Today, the restaurant is part of the Scandic Hasselbacken Hotel. The Victorian building burned down in 1923 and the current one is a replacement, but the exterior of the former building featured in the 1919 Swedish film Åh, i morron kväll (Oh, Tomorrow Night) directed by John W. Brunius.