What's the first thing you think of when we say the term "hasselback"? We bet it's potatoes. But did you know that there's a lot more you can apply the technique to? You can hasselback an endless variety of fruits and vegetables: Eggplant, apples, butternut squash, and tomatoes are just some of the delectable choices for this beautiful presentation. It’s a versatile technique that we’ve outlined with simple, easy steps that any home cook can accomplish. Make super impressive dishes that will truly wow in presentation. No one will know how easy it was to create.
Watch: How to Hasselback Anything
The History of Hasselbacking
Hasselbacking is accomplished by creating thin cuts crosswise onto a fruit or vegetable. It was created with potatoes in the 1950s at a restaurant called Hasselbacken in Sweden. The restaurant got its name from the Swedish words for hazel and slope as the restaurant was located next to a thicket of hazel along the steep slope of a mountain. So if you’ve been wondering what the word hasselback has to do with the potatoes themselves, it was completely unrelated at first.
You don’t need much to be successful for this simple process—just a very sharp knife and a set of chopsticks. When you are cutting a tomato you will need a sharp, serrated knife.
The Chopstick Method
You might be wondering what the chopsticks are for. The best way to keep from cutting all the way through the vegetable is to place a chopstick on either side of the fruit or vegetable. This stops your knife from slicing all the way through, not only keeping the bottom intact, but also the cuts uniform. To create a design that is evenly spaced, you can place a ruler alongside the chopstick. Cut every quarter or eighth of an inch. The thinner you cut the faster it will cook and the more crispy slices you'll get.
The Key to Crispiness
Fat is key when you are hasselbacking. You will need some kind of oil—be it olive, vegetable, or coconut or some butter—to create the golden caramelized top. It’s important to coat the entire top of the vegetable with the fat and to use a pastry brush to add some of it in between the layers.
What Can You Hasselback?
As it turns out, a lot! Potatoes and sweet potatoes are obvious and delicious choices for this technique. However, you don’t have to limit yourself with only those waxy roots. There are many other vegetables (and fruit!) that work perfectly.
Hasselback butternut squash is an impressive recipe that'd be an impressive vegetarian holiday centerpiece. All you have to to is peel, remove seeds, cut, and top with butter and brown sugar. Add a little sage and some toasted walnuts when it’s finished cooking for wonderful fall flavor. You can also change up the design and try out different angles and size of cuts.
It’s best to leave the eggplant with the skin intact. Cut it in half lengthwise and place cuts as far or as close apart as you would like. Brush with olive oil and stuff minced garlic, dried oregano, and basil and shredded mozzarella cheese in between the layers. Top with some bread crumbs and bake at 350 F until golden brown. Add some prepared tomato sauce to the top for a gorgeous spin on eggplant parmesan.
Tomatoes are one of the few foods that are best left raw after hasselbacking. Place a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf in between each layer. Then top with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper for a beautiful party-ready Caprese salad. Use a serrated knife when cutting the tomato. This greatly helps in cutting the tomato without squishing it and releasing its juices. Unlike most of the other fruits and vegetables, it works best if you don’t cut the tomato in half first.
Apples are the perfect fruit for hasselbacking. Peel and core the apples first. Brush a little lemon juice over the top of the apple, then use the chopstick method to cut very thin slices. Brush with a generous helping of butter and stuff some brown sugar in between and on top of the cuts. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Bake in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes or until the apples are soft, golden, and a little crisp on top. It makes for an amazing dessert and you probably have all of the ingredients at home already.
Other Foods You Can Hasselback
- A loaf of bread
- Carrots or parsnips
Vegetables That Don't Work Well
- Bell peppers. Once you remove the insides the outer flesh is quite thin. It won’t hold up to the slicing or the baking.