Hail the Hasselbacks

Hail the Hasselbacks

I can eat a potato in any guise. They form a staple of our culinary output :

  • creamy mashed potatoes with coconut milk
  • cheesy mashed potatoes, usually on top of a shepherd’s pie or a fish pie
  • home made chips in the oven – always thinly sliced, cooked in olive oil and either rubbed with paprika & chilli flakes or sea salt & fresh rosemary
  • dauphinoise style
  • usually always in soup
  • sliced thinly as the topping for a bake
  • new potatoes, eaten cold in a summery salad
  • small cubes of potato with trofie pasta, pesto, broad beans and parmesan
  • sometimes baked – although quite rare, as I don’t usually find baked potatoes to be “proper” food, as in a baked potato with a toppingm however nice, wouldn’t constitute a dinner for me

And the last point is probably why we’ve never delved into Hasselback World. Although they look admittedly very pretty, with their fans of potato slices, I’ve always – and I now know VERY mistakenly – just thought of them as a kind of sliced baked potato. Well, my potato world was turned on its head this weekend, when we decided we had the time – another mistaken idea, the one that you needs loads of time, because you don’t – to make the hasselbacks.

Two quite large new potatoes – the best kind, the ones with fresh soil still attached – were sufficient. These were just washed, not peeled, as I wanted the skins to brown and crisp up. Although I’m sure it wouldn’t have been the most difficult task in the world to slice the potato and stop before slicing through, I wanted to make sure it was done successfully in one go, so a stainless steel IKEA serving spoon was utilised. The potato was just placed on the spoon, and sliced very thinly – the scooped out part of the spoon meant that it didn’t cut all the way through.

 

I’m sure that are a million different ways to cook a hasselback, and aficionados will probably scoff at what we did. But, it was super simple and we LOVED them. Nothing like a baked potato – which seriously need to up their game in the potato stakes. They were baked first for about 35 mins, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt (so it was chunky) and black pepper. They were then brushed with butter and another drizzle of olive oil & salt and pepper and back in the oven for another 35 minutes or so. Not only super tasty – and next time, it’ll be garlic butter we’ll be using – but also very photogenic. Our weekend meal was a proper spring treat – it was warm and sunny and so to accompany the potatoes, we had a mezze platter. Roll on spring…

 

Salmon & Potato Bake

Salmon & Potato Bake

We’re doing a whole lot more cooking at home these days – as everyone is – but we’re dreaming of the time we can occasionally escape the kitchen from time to time, again. Until then though, we’re trying to vary what we eat and try out new dishes. Sometimes we do fall back on old favourites, sometimes we go for things we wouldn’t normally eat. But sometimes, we just have to go for what we can cobble together from the cupboards, fridge and freezer. I found a lovely sounding recipe from Delicious Magazine, but we didn’t have all of the ingredients to hand so had to improvise. The original recipe is below, with our substitutes in brackets :

SALMON & POTATO BAKE

  • 1kg floury potatoes, cut into 3mm slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach (didn’t have fresh spinach, so used frozen)
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 3 salmon fillets, sliced
  • 200ml double cream (didn’t have double cream so switched for mascarpone)
  • 50g grated Gruyère (used a mix of provolone & parmesan)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, then simmer the potatoes for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the red onion for 5 minutes, then stir in the flour and season well. Add the frozen spinach to the onions and gently heat until defrosted and cooked through.
  3. Butter an ovenproof dish and layer up the potatoes, onion and spinach with the broken up salmon, ending with a layer of potato.
  4. Heat the mascarpone until it liquifies, then pour over the bake. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

I think that if we make this again, the double cream will make a difference – mascarpone was fine, but I think the cream would just blend in a little better. It’s definitely a winter warmer and it’s a nice end-of-the-week meal as the salmon makes it feel just a little bit luxurious and more of a treat. If you make it, enjoy 🙂