“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”
~ Alan Watts
When I was little my grandmother used to cook these potatoes when we visited for Sunday Roast, only she didn’t call them Hasselback potatoes. Marga called them Opera House Potatoes, because according to her they looked like miniature Sydney Opera Houses. But hey, it was the seventies, and we were a culturally proud nation! It wasn’t until my mid thirties that I found out these potatoes were also known by another name…
I love these easy baked potatoes. They have a delightfully crispy outside, but the inside of the potato is soft and creamy. On Christmas Day I thought I had cooked enough for an army, and we only ended up with two as leftovers for Boxing Day. That’s how good they are!
Here’s what you need to do to make them yourself:
- Potatoes suitable for roasting (check here for good roasting varieties) I like washed varieties that I can leave the skin on, because it’s easier and tastier. Favourites include Desiree, Nicola and Golden Delight, or Pink Eye when I can get them.
- Olive Oil (or your fat of choice)
How do you work out how many potatoes to cook? I would decide on an amount per person, and then bake extra. Seriously. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have leftovers, and that’s actually a happy situation as they are delicious cold too.
Preheat your oven to moderate (170 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
Wash your potatoes and pat dry. Peel if they need peeling.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthways. Place cut side on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any moisture.
Using a sharp knife cut a series of slits in the potato, being careful not to cut all the way through. Leave about an uncut centimetre at the bottom of every potato to hold the potato together.
Rub each potato well with olive oil and place onto a baking tray. I like to use a piece of baking paper to line my trays because it makes cleaning up easier.
Sprinkle with a little salt.
Bake for one hour or until crispy on the outside and soft and well-cooked on the inside.
Serve with just about anything!
Variations: You can happily sprinkle cheese, herbs or bacon on top of these spuds before baking, or when serving.
Here’s the finished product.