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Purple Onion

Hasselback potatoes: slice your food for added fun — and flavor.

Want to add a little pizzazz to your fall plates? A little something different that uses favorite ingredients to give dinner a fun spin?

Hasselback!

This cooking technique involves making thin cuts crosswise into a fruit or vegetable, giving it a little stuffing and baking it.

It was developed in the 1950s at Hasselbacken, a restaurant in Sweden which gets its name from the Swedish words “hazel” and “slope” because the restaurant was located next to a thicket of hazel along a steep mountain slope. So much for thinking hasselback was related to the potatoes it is most often associated with, right?

If you do a search for hasselback recipes, you’ll find some for meats like pork and poultry as well as vegetables and fruits.

The process is simple as you’ll see from our tips (See “Making the Cut”). After the cutting is done, there are two steps: flavor and roast. Yep, that’s it.

We’re offering some basics here, but we know our readers and you’ve got great imaginations. Go ahead and experiment!

The key to any hasselback recipe is crispiness. Fat is important so you’ll need some kind of oil or some butter. This helps to develop the golden caramelized top. Remember to coat the entire top of the food with fat. Use a pastry brush to add it between the layers.

For flavor:

Pour the fat over the food. Use a pastry brush to work it in between the slices.

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For meat or flexible foods, lay the cut side down with slices fanned out in the fat or marinade.

Set foods like apples or pears in a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice, sugar and spices. Let stand five minutes and toss gently to coat.

Roast, cut side up, on a baking dish in a preheated 400 to 425 degree F. oven. Most recipes take 30 to 60 minutes to cook, depending on the size and density of the food, the thickness of slices and how much stuffing they’ve got. Halfway through, baste the food. Bake until golden brown.

It is also important to tuck, pipe and sprinkle:

  • Tuck fresh herbs, cheeses and meats between slices.
  • Pipe soft cheeses like goat cheese or herbed cream cheese between slices using a piping bag or plastic bag with a corner snipped off.
  • Sprinkle herbs, crisp toppings like bacon or nuts and grated or shredded cheese on top.

No-cook Hasselback Tomato Caprese is a simple way to start hasselbacking and makes a striking salad for dinner or on a buffet table.

Our traditional potato recipe will also get you started.

Next, consider the Sweet Potato Hasselback with vegetarian and meat options.

When you are ready to branch out, try these recipes for butternut squash, carrots and zucchini. Any of these recipes would be great choices for a holiday menu.

Because we can’t go without dessert, we hope you’ll give the Hasselback Pears with Caramel Nut Crunch a try.

Allan Hathaway is the owner of The Purple Onion and WV Marketplace at Charleston’s Capitol Market. For more information, visit the web pages at capitolmarket.net/merchants/purple-onionand capitolmarket.net/merchants/wv-marketplace; call The Purple Onion at 304-342-4414 and WV Marketplace at 304-720-2244. Email Allan at purpleonionco@aol.com.

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