If you love crispy, tasty potatoes (that aren’t fried), you’re in luck. You’ve got to try these – little roasted potatoes all prettied up and smothered in garlicky, cheesy heaven!
When I lived in Greece (ha … you thought I’d stopped beginning posts with that phrase, didn’t you? Or rather, hoped … nope, sorry.)
So, when I lived in Greece, I had to get used to many things that were quite ‘different’, to say the least, including the food, of course. Take potatoes, for instance, as that’s what today’s recipe is all about. Here in the UK, there are tons of different kinds of potatoes available – some better for mashing, others for chips, others for baking … you get the picture.
So over in Greece, there only ever seemed to be one type of potato available at any one time. Maybe there were big ones and small ones (if I was lucky), but there wasn’t a fancy name like the ones we have here in sight. This is not to say that the potatoes on offer weren’t good – they usually were – but I never had any idea what they were supposed to taste like or what they were best for.
I survived to tell the tale, of course, but I must admit I’m now pretty happy to have a bigger choice of potatoes!
Right now here in the UK a cute little potato called the Jersey Royal is in season. They’re grown in an especially rich soil on the island of Jersey in the British Channel Islands (close to France!) and so end up sort of melt-in-your-mouth creamy and almost buttery in texture. I know, they sound delicious, don’t they? And this is NOT even a sponsored post for Jersey Royal farmers (apparently there are only about 20 of them!) … although I certainly think it should be!!
Another thing I’m definitely NOT saying that you need Jersey Royals to make these garlic & parmesan hasselback potatoes. Oh no no. All I’m saying is that any of the multitude of types of small ‘new’ waxy potatoes that you don’t have to remove the skins from before cooking that seem to be in abundance at this time of year are PERFECT for making these crispy, creamy, buttery, garlicky, cheesy and, if you ask me, pretty good looking little bites.
Don’t you agree these are pretty snazzy-looking? I’ve been wanting to try making some hasselback potatoes for ages. I think they are usually made with bigger baking potatoes, and you can totally try that too if you like (just increase the cooking time to about an hour and 10 if you do, though). BUT I thought the small potatoes lent themselves more naturally to being smothered in a yummy mixture of olive oil, butter, garlic and parm.
These certainly aren’t culinary rocket science, and I bet you can pretty much guess how they are made. All you have to do to make them is make deep cuts all the way across each potato at about 3 or 4 mm intervals. Go quite deep, but of course take care not to cut all the way through the potato and cut it in half, although believe me you probably will do that to one or two in your excitement to get the potatoes cooked and in your mouf as fast as poss!!
You need to put aside a good 10 minutes or so to prepare all the potatoes, but then all you have to do is baste them and throw them in the oven for 40 to 45 mins – not literally like I did, though. I slid them into the oven a bit too enthusiastically and they toppled all over the oven … oops!
The key to getting these super tasty and crispy is to baste once at the beginning with your oil/butter and flavours and then baste them again half way through cooking. The potatoes sort of fan out as they cook, you see, so the second ‘basting’ gets right inside and helps them crisp up even better. I chose to baste my potatoes with garlic and parmesan and leave it at that, but I reckon these ideas would be great, too …
– paprika & thyme
– plain salt & pepper, but with a splodge of sour cream or Greek yoghurt, cheese & chives on the top at the end
– cumin, a pinch of cayenne pepper (just a pinch!) & fresh coriander at the end (maybe with a splodge of lime-infused Greek yoghurt to serve, too …mmmm!)
– rosemary & black pepper
I’m sure you can think of other ideas to try! We ate these as a side dish with a salad and quiche, but I’m thinking they’d be great with a steak or grilled chicken, too, or even just on their own as a not-too-naughty afternoon snack.
mini garlic & parmesan hasselback potatoes
- about 20 ‘new’ or small potatoes welled washed/scrubbed & dried
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- a large knob of butter about 30 grams
- salt & black pepper
- about 25 grams/1 ounce parmesan cheese grated
- fresh herbs to garnish - basil chives, oregano etc. (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F.
- Cut each potato into slices about 3 to 4 mm apart, without cutting all the way through it, and place on a baking tray.
- Melt the butter in a small dish in the microwave (30 seconds should do it) or in a small saucepan if you don’t have a microwave. Add the olive oil and garlic and stir together.
- Baste each potato well with the butter/olive oil/garlic mixture with a pastry/basting brush (make sure you scoop up plenty of the garlicky bits!), sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper and then bake for 20 minutes.
- Take the potatoes out of the oven and baste again, then sprinkle most of the parmesan over them, poking plenty down into the ‘cracks’. Then return to the oven for about another 20 minutes or until the potatoes are dark golden and a bit crispy.
- Garnish with a bit more parmesan and the fresh herbs (if you like).
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