Pimp Up Your Yam: Maple Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with SageJulieVR
I’ve always wanted to make hasselback potatoes using sweet potatoes – now that I have, I’m not sure what took me so long. I quickly discovered that you can not only dribble them with melted butter, but with maple syrup as well. (Well, hello. Where have you been all my life?) Roasting has always been my cooking method of choice for sweet potatoes – the high heat brings out their sweetness and intensifies flavors, whether they’re left whole or sliced into fries – but thinly slicing a whole sweet potato first, tucking in some fresh sage and dribbling melted butter and maple syrup overtop before sliding it into the oven? Sheer genius. (If you don’t mind their resemblance to giant slugs.)
Potatoes are at their peak right now – since they store so well, it’s hardly common to think of fall as potato season – but I have bags of thin-skinned spuds in shades of creamy yellow, off-white, purple and pink still covered with dirt by my kitchen door. It turns out even tiny new potatoes are perfect candidates for the hasselback treatment – slice them and nestle in as much thinly sliced garlic as you dare, drizzle with oil and roast, then serve as bite-sized party food with sour cream for dipping.
You really don’t need a recipe for Hasselback potatoes. Choose small, thin-skinned varieties of white potato or long, thin, dark fleshed sweet potatoes, scrub them (Jaime peels the top halves of her potatoes first – you can see her Hasselback potato post here), and slice them thinly -aim for 1/4 inch- cutting not quite all the way through to the bottom. If you need help in this regard, set them in a large soup spoon or set them between two chopsticks to create a bit of a buffer as you cut through, stopping your knife before it gets to the bottom.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Tuck thin slices of garlic or fresh herbs into a few slits of each potato and place them in a single layer, cut-sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the potatoes with oil and/or melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on their size, until golden and crispy. Some people start the off in a cast iron skillet, tossing the potatoes around to coat them well and then slide the whole thing into the pan. If you’re doing sweet potatoes, drizzle them with pure maple syrup about halfway through – sugar burns quickly, so you don’t want to add it at the beginning.
Here are a few combinations that will help you win friends and influence people – in all, 10 ways to make hasselback potatoes:
Herbed Hasselback Potatoes: tuck fresh sage leaves, thyme and chopped rosemary, pulled off the twig, into the slices; serve topped with soft goat cheese.
Ham & Cheese Hasselback Potatoes: tuck thin slices of parma ham or prosciutto between slices; shower with finely grated Parmesan about 10 minutes before they’re finished.
Classic Garlicky Hasselback Potatoes: tuck thin slices of fresh garlic into as many slits as you dare.
Bacon Hasselback Potatoes: cook a few strips of bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside, and cook the potatoes in the drippings. Serve with sour cream, sprinkled with crumbled bacon.
Mediterranean Hasselback Potatoes: tuck bits of sun-dried tomato and garlic into white potatoes and roast drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano. If you like, crumble feta overtop while they’re still warm.
Grilled Hasselback Potatoes: place the potatoes on a square of foil before drizzling with butter and oil; wrap tightly and grill over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until tender.
Hot Wing Hasselback Potatoes: mix equal amounts of Tabasco or other hot sauce and melted butter; dribble over the potatoes and baste them with the mixture as they roast.
Balsamic Hasselback Potatoes: add balsamic vinegar to olive or canola oil (try a ratio of 1:2) before dribbling over the potatoes, or use your favorite bottled vinaigrette.
Enjoy! Life might be too short to stuff a mushroom, but it’s not too short to hasselback a potato.