Food

This Swedish Way of Making Potatoes Is the Absolute Best Way, No Question

Before we begin, let’s be clear about one thing: Potatoes in any form are delicious. Mashed, fried, baked, roasted—there’s no bad way to eat these splendid spuds. But there is a way that emphasizes the potato’s best features (the A-line skirt of cooking, if you will).

When done right, potatoes should be soft and fluffy on the inside while delightfully crispy on the outside. And if they happen to be vehicles for tasty toppings like garlic, cheese, herbs and bacon, it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

This Swedish method of making potatoes covers all of the above… and then some. Introducing Hasselback potatoes. You might have heard of this cooking technique that transforms the humble vegetable into an accordion-like shape, but what you probably don’t know is that it comes from Scandinavia; specifically, chef Leif Ellison, who came up with the dish in 1953 while working at Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm. Tusen tack, Leif. (That’s “a thousand thanks” in Swedish.)

This Swedish Way of Making Potatoes Is the Absolute Best Way, No Question

Photo: Liz Andrew/ Styling: Erin McDowell

I’m Swedish, and I grew up with Hasselback potatoes. But because I was under the impression that they were too difficult to make, I avoided cooking them until a few weeks ago, when I was hit with a pang of nostalgia and attempted a recipe. And guess what? These spuds might look fancy but they’re actually ridiculously easy to make—and totally delicious. Think of Hasselback potatoes as a cross between crispy fries and soft mashed spuds with the added benefit of all those crevices to catch toppings and sauce. It’s basically the equivalent of potato nirvana. Here’s how to make them at home.

What you’ll need: A couple of potatoes (I used Russets but any potato will work), a few tablespoons of fat (olive oil or butter are excellent choices), salt and pepper, and any additional toppings.

What to do: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash the potatoes and pat them dry. Next, carefully slice a row of thin slits into the potato, making sure to stop before cutting through the potato so you leave the bottom intact. Place the potatoes in a baking dish and brush them with half the olive oil, butter or other fat. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for thirty minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven, brush them with the remaining fat, and put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done. If you’re adding any extra toppings (cheese is never a bad idea), sprinkle these on top of the spuds five minutes before the end of cooking. And that’s it—you have reached peek potato perfection.

One more thing: To make the slicing easier, place two wooden spoons or chopsticks side by side with the potato in the middle. This helps act as a guide and keeps you from cutting too far down the potato.