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Hasselback potatoes and spiced butter 🥔 🧈 🦔
Some days what you really need is a crispy potato.
As pottery lovers and fans of shiny things, we covet everything Sussex Lustreware has ever made. Using 19th century Sunderland lustreware as their inspiration, they produce a mix of traditional and new designs, and they’re all divine. That signature iridescent pink glaze is our favourite, but you’ll find pieces in shimmering shades of yellow, amber and blue, too, like their For A Stargazer mug, which we plan to check on thrice-weekly until it’s back in stock. This charming May You Be Happy cup (£30) is small but perfectly formed, and we’re also very keen on this reward for reading, beautifully combining our love of books and cats. Both would make a delightful present for a friend, had we not already earmarked the new ‘Lustreware Corner’ of our kitchen windowsill.
In a pickle
Yes, we can make our own finely sliced red onion pickles, and indeed we do. They’re easy to whip up, and unlike other pickles they’re ready to eat in a couple of hours (less, if you really can’t wait). But sometimes we just want someone else to do it for us, and then we turn to Vadasz fresh red onion pickles (£4.50), which after a lengthy period of testing, Laura has decided are the best. So crunchy, so tangy, so expensive, so worth it. Once just a London-only treat, they can nowadays be found in supermarkets across the country, and we scatter them on everything: Nigella’s fish finger bhorta; cheese on toast; and of course, tacos. They’re also very good shovelled into your mouth as you stand in the kitchen at midnight – the glow of the fridge light makes that pretty pink really pop.
Hasselback potatoes with spiced butter dip
Some days we turn to particular foods to soothe us, but sometimes it’s the preparation itself that will right the day’s wrongs. We can feel the ease coming back into our shoulders a few minutes into the repetitive stirring motion of a risotto. Sometimes our frustrations can be kneaded out of the day, into a ball of dough. And there’s nothing quite like smacking the hell out of a cucumber to get to work on our anger. There are days when your mind is too bothered and too unsettled. For those days, which we hope are few, we turn to the hasselback. The fun crispy cousin of the baked potato has a little magic in its method. All of those methodical slits are a balm for your mind. And if you’re working on a particularly troublesome case of messiness, the spiced butter dip is a delicious back-up.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes. Cooking time: 90 minutes.
For the potatoes:
250g new potatoes
4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
For the spiced butter yoghurt:
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper (you could also use cayenne, or chilli flakes but watch out for those burning)
1 clove garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Lay your first potato on a wooden spoon – you’ll use this as your guide for each. Make thin slices along the potato. The spoon will act as a barrier so you don’t cut right the way through (just be careful at the tricky narrow ends, you might end up with a couple lopped off).
Work your way through each potato until you have a run of thin slits across each one.
Finely slice your garlic cloves.
Thread in a slice of garlic in every third or fourth potato slit by gently prising the slits apart with your knife. You shouldn’t need too much pressure to ease them in. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll get through the rest much faster than you expected.
Make sure you push the garlic slices in deeply with the edge of your knife so they can infuse their flavour without burning.
Lay slit side up on a deep baking tray, leaving a little room between each potato. Cover them in oil, salt and pepper. This isn’t the time to scrimp on the oil (is there ever a time?) – you want to make sure the oil drizzles down all of the slits and gets right into the potatoes.
Pop the tray in the oven for around 90 minutes, basting the potatoes with oil every 20 minutes or so to get the softest middles and crispiest edges.
Meanwhile, finely mince the garlic and combine the yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice in a shallow bowl.
When the potatoes are golden and crisping nicely, mix the butter with the spices and melt over a low heat. When it becomes a beautifully rich shade of a sunset, drizzle the butter over the yoghurt.
Any remaining butter can be served at the table alongside the crispy potatoes for people to pour over themselves.
What a dish
We scrawl our recipe notes anywhere and everywhere – the back of an old envelope, a torn-off bit of cereal box, or in the middle of a notebook that was supposed to be being kept for our Booker-winning novel. And though that’s unlikely to change any time soon, it might be nice to one day get around to writing them neatly in a special place where they can all live together forever. Papier has such a lovely collection of personalised recipe journals, but it’s this Herb Garden one (£29.99) that’s caught our eye. Gold foil! A ribbon! A section for reviewing our favourite restaurants! It’ll make even our most disgusting-but-delicious recipes (they always involve burger sauce, crisps, and plastic cheese slices) seem Michelin-worthy.