Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Hasselback potatos - one of the best things you can make out of potatos (vegan. gluten-free, kosher)

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Hasselback potatos is a Swedish classic and one of the best side dishes in the world! 

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Many interns probably don't have terribly great experiences of internships. Sure, being forced to tolerate humiliation and getting treated like a second class monkey is awfully efficient method of character building, but at least in my experience rarely leads to actual employment. And why would it - who'd want to actually pay you for something they can always get someone to do it for free by labeling it as "world experience"?

My experiences range from weird to good. I've been answering phones and making coffee (just guess if university degree was actually required for even those jobs?) but then I've also managed to amass experiences such as Finnish Embassy in Tunisia. 

I was fortunate/ unfortunate (much like beauty, this one's in the eye of the beholder) to move into the country mere days after their revolution, which went on to ignite the Arab Spring the aftermatch of which still conties today; six years on. The unique timing mean I really got my hands dirty, for reporting back to Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the refugee camps on Libyan border to photographing demonstrators being shot to death at my door step.

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Ah. Interns, those unsung heros. It's not often they get to leave their mark in history, but sometimes it does happen. Such was the case of Hotel Hasselbacken's restaurant and Leif Elisson, a cook student from Värmland working there in 1953.

Leif got an idea to elevate the humble potato to a whole new level. The result was instant classic (named after the hotel of course and not him...) : Hasselback's potato. Just imagine if they'd had Instagram back then - that Eureka moment would have totally gone viral and within the next 48 hours we'd have all been emptying the potato sehelves in supermarkets across the world!

60 years on Hasselbacken's hotel and restaurant still stand next to Djurgården; still serving this dish on their menu. Go, Leif!

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As a side dish for 4-6 people

Hasselback potatos:

6 largeish baking potatos
6 tbsp butter( margarine/ oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised with the back of the knife
3 sprigs rosemary
salt, white pepper
2 tbsp bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)

Measure butter, garlic and rosemary into a small pot. Melt over high heat until the butter stops foaming. Remove from heat and let the flavours infuse the butter while you prepare the potatos. Pre-heat oven to 225°c (in a convection oven 200° should do). 

Peel the potatos and pat dry (if you're using thin-skinned potatos, you can also use them as they are).

Using a sharp knife, cut incisions into the potatos a couple of mm apart form each other, being careful not to slice the potatos all the way to the bottom. The easiest way to do this is to cut the potato while resting it on a wooden spoon as this will prevent the knife from accidentally cutting all the way through.

Place the potatos into a buttered/ greased oven proof dish. Brush them generously with half of the butter and season (equaly generously) with salt and pepper. Bake at 225 for 25 minutes. 

After 25 minutes brush the potatos with the remaining butter (and the butter on the bottom of the dish) and scatter bread crumbs on top of the potatos. If you want, you could also insert rosemary leaves into the incisions, which will have started to open up by now. Continue cooking for another 25-35 minutes (depending on the size) until potatos are cooked and soft all the way through.

Serve. For instance with steak or fish.  

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You can also let your imagination run wild with these babies (Iäm sure Leif would approve).

You could subsitute some or all of the bread crumbs with Parmesan. Or you could add crunchy bacon bits into it (can I get an Amen?). When serving these with fish, you could combine bread crubs with chilli flakes and/ or finely grated lemon zest. 

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Familiar with Hasselback's potatos yet? How would you pimp yours?



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