Hasselback potatoes are wonderful roasted potatoes that have been very thinly sliced before roasting so that as the heat hits them they open up like pages in a book, inviting all sorts of delicious extras to be slipped into the leaves of potato, garlic, bacon, chorizo and in this case, pancetta. However my Hasselback Potato Roast is a little different from traditional Hasselback potatoes in that the slices go all the way through and are then stacked tightly in a dish on a bed of sweet onions and baked with herbs. A rich glug of olive oil helps them to brown and pancetta slipped between the slices adds flavour to this dish which could be a side or a main.
The easiest way to get even thin slices is with a mandoline or food processor, but you can of course cut these by hand, don’t underestimate the time it might take you, so switch on the telly and settle yourself comfortably. There are innumerable variations for the things you can add, play around with the recipe but remember that if you add more veg, there will be more moisture and the potatoes won’t crisp up as much. They will still be delicious but without those crunchy edges. If you add garlic use a couple of cloves and crush them, then after drying the slices rub them with the garlic puree. Finally if the edges start to burn, turn the heat down, Don’t cover as the hasselback potato roast WILL go soggy, still tasty, but not the same.
Hasselback Potato Roast
serves 2 as main or 4 as side dish
- 900g roasting potatoes
- 1 onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 95g sliced pancetta, cut into small pieces
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- a pinch of sea salt
- Set a large bowl of cold water to one side and peel and slice the potatoes. The slicing is easiest done using a mandoline. You want them about twice as thick as you’d cut for crisps. Place the slices in the cold water as you go.
- The slicing can also be done with a food processor or by hand but it is more difficult to get even slices by hand.
- Preheat the oven to 220c, 200c fan assisted, 425F, gas mark 7.
- Spread the sliced onion on the bottom of a small roasting tin and add a few leaves from the thyme, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Remove the potato slices from the water onto a tea towel and dry carefully, then stack into the tray horizontally as if making sausage shaped potatoes.
- Pack tightly enough that they support each other. Then taking about half the sliced pancetta, tuck the slices between the leaves of potato every so often. Scatter with the remainder of the thyme and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Roast in the centre of the oven for about 60 mins until the potatoes are golden and crisp on the edges.
- Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan and fry the rest of the pancetta until it curls and crinkles, crisping on the edges. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle on the potatoes as they come out of the oven.
- If you want to add a dash of decadence sprinkle with cheese and bake for 10 minutes extra.
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