The first couple of rows of main crop potatoes were dug up at the weekend. You never quite know what you’re going to get when you dig up root crops, and in this case, we didn’t even know what the variety would be. Way back in the spring, a box of mixed left over seed potatoes were offered up by our allotment neighbour. Just enough for 2 rows, with probably 3 or 4 varieties all jumbled up together. There’s a mix of red and yellow. I think the red are probably Desiree, and the yellow ones could be King Edwards or Cara (varieties I know my neighbour is growing). They’ve done pretty well, not a massive yield, a few had been attacked by tiny slugs or eelworm, who eat them from the inside-out, but no complaints for a free harvest.
We took to eating these hasselback potatoes last autumn and over the winter, so it’s nice to have them back on the menu again. As much as the new potatoes have been lovely, there are some things that you just can’t do with a tiny new potato and this is one of them.
I did a lot of weeding through the herb bed while John was digging up our spuds, and after freeing the thyme from the clutches of the bindweed, I decided to pick a few bunches to dry it out at home. I would normally use rosemary in this dish, but while fresh thyme was to hand I used it instead. Either works fine.
Preheat the oven to a hot temp – around 220-240ºc. This gets them nice and crisp on the outside edges.
1. Take your freshly scrubbed potato, and very carefully slice down across the narrowest width, but make sure not to cut all the way through. You can use a skewer, pierced low down through the length of the potato, to stop you from cutting all the way through, or I’ve also seen a method where the potato is rested on a large serving spoon before cutting. I have tried both and they’re a bit too much hassle for me! Get it – hassle, never mind. I just cut carefully.
2. Place the potatoes (cut side up) into a baking dish. I find it best to use something a little snug to hold the potatoes in their shape, but with a little room so they can open up slightly.
3. Slice a clove or 2 of garlic as thinly as you can, and push the garlic slices down between the slices of potato.
4. Scatter over the herbs, pushing some down into the potato layers, and then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a glug of oil (olive, rapeseed, posh walnut, homemade chilli infused, whatever takes your fancy).
5. Place in the oven and roast for around 45 mins – 1 hour, depending on the size of your potatoes.
6. Smear over a little butter over when they come out of the oven. Enjoy!
You could experiment quite a bit with this. Such as:
- a spicy version with chopped fresh or flakes of dry chilli between the layers and maybe a dusting of paprika.
- a cheesy version with thin slices of cheese between the layers. Not sure if that would work, maybe the cheese would have to go in towards the end of the cooking time?
- a creamy mustard version, a mixture of cream and wholegrain mustard spread into the layers with a splash of milk over the top to make a sort of hasselback daphnoise?
Just a few thoughts, it’s there to make it your own.