Hasselback Sweet-and-Spicy Potatoes


Faced with yet another batch of sweet potatoes from the farmers market, as I made the menu for last week I wondered what I could do with them that wasn’t the same old same-old. As much as we love sweet potatoes, it’s easy to fall into the baked or mashed rut with them.

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Enter the Hasselback.

Hasselback potatoes have been making the blog rounds with a variety of toppings. But they all feature skin-on potatoes cut into fans, crispy edges and lots of flavor. The most enticing I’ve seen include slivers of garlic slipped between some of the potato leaves.

What I hadn’t seen a lot of (though they do exist) are versions using the yam or sweet potato, but I saw no reason to let that stop me.

I did see one potential obstacle: the skin. While eating regular (brown or red) potato skins isn’t a problem, sweet potato skins can get quite leathery and unpleasant when baked–not exactly appetizing. And, yet, the skins help keep the fanned potatoes from falling apart. My solution was to peel 3/4 of each potato, leaving only the bottom of each au naturel. Since sweet potatoes tend towards irregular shaping, finding each’s natural base before peeling helped.

Semi-peeled sweet potatoes

After that, the procedure was the same as any other Hasselback potato:

  1. Slice
  2. Season
  3. Bake

When it comes to slicing, the idea is to slice almost all the way through. The best tip I’ve seen for this calls for using a guide–like a pair of wooden spoons or even chopsticks–to keep you from cutting all the way through the potato. This worked so well, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

Cutting the sweet potatoes with wooden-spoon guides

For the seasoning, instead of garlic, I placed 3-4 slivers of fresh ginger into each potato, drizzled with some olive oil then mixed up some Demarara sugar, cinnamon, chili powder and salt (just eyeball the proportions) and sprinkled it all over. It doesn’t hurt to spread some of the leaves apart and make sure some of the seasoning makes it way in.

Sliced, stuffed and ready to season sweet potatoes

Finally, an hour at 350° F and the potatoes were ready to eat.

Finished Hasselback Potatoes

After stuffing, one potato didn’t want to sit nice and pretty, so it got a foil cradle but otherwise the rest behaved quite well. The end result was lovely coins of sweet potatoes that peeled away from the remaining skin without too much effort and were definitely the sweet and spicy flavor I was after.