Hasselback Potatoes

Serves 12.

Note: Leftover Hasselback potatoes are a superb start to any hash and a nice breakfast, served with a fried egg. Panko breadcrumbs are larger and lighter than the traditional breadcrumb. The seasoned butter and panko may be made 3 months ahead and frozen. The dish can be made one day ahead; it does not freeze well. Reheat at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. From Cathy Barrow.

• 4 lb. russet potatoes or sweet potatoes

• 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 2 tbsp. minced fresh chives

• 2 tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

• 1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme leaves

• 1 tbsp. minced fresh sage leaves

• 1 garlic clove, finely grated

• 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs (see Note)

Directions

Scrub the potatoes and peel, if desired.

To “Hasselback,” place a potato on a cutting board. Snugly arrange 2 chopsticks or 2 identical round handles of wooden spoons at either side of the potato. (If needed, slice a slim piece from the bottom of the potato so that it will sit squarely.)

Using a sharp knife, make 1/8-inch slices along the length of the potato, using the chopsticks as a brake, so that while slicing, the blade stops before cutting all the way through the potato. Be aware of the ends of the potatoes, taking care not to slice all the way through. When finished, the top of the potato will fan out slightly. Place the potatoes in a bowl of ice water to keep them from browning while cutting the others.

In a medium bowl, stir together the softened butter, chives, parsley, thyme, sage, garlic, salt and pepper until well blended. Fold in the panko. (At this point, the butter may be shaped into a roll or stick and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the middle.

Thoroughly dry the potatoes. Using your fingertips, slather the potatoes with about half of the buttery crumbs, taking time to press the mixture between the slices. This will be challenging as the potato will be stiff and uncooperative. Once buttered, place the potatoes in a baking pan, casserole dish or cast-iron skillet, fitting them snugly in one layer. Place a piece of parchment over the potatoes and cover the dish with foil, sealing it well.

Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and parchment and plunge a fork into the center of the largest potato. It should yield and be soft but not collapse. If it is still hard, replace the parchment and foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. If softened, draw the tines of the fork along the top of each potato to fan the slices. Plop nuggets of the remaining butter-crumb mixtures over the top of each potato.

Bake, uncovered, an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and yielding and slightly crisped on the surface. Spoon the herbed butter over the top of the potatoes and serve.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 220 Fat 8 g Sodium 110 mg

Carbohydrates 34 g Saturated fat 5 g Added sugar 2 g

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 20 mg Dietary fiber 3 g