HASSELBACK POTATOES WITH FRESH ROSEMARY, MACHENGO AND PROVOLONE CHEESE
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Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Have you joined the hasselback potato craze yet? I feel as if I am late to that particular party but have finally joined in on the fun. A hasselback potato is just a potato that has been very thinly sliced about ⅔ of the way down, all the way across, then roasted. The slices open up during roasting, kind of like the petals of a flower. This equals to them with a crispy crust and soft interior,looking quite handsome and tasting as good as they look. You can add whatever you like to the potato tops, and in this case I thought we’d go for some fresh rosemary and a cheese blend of Machengo and Provolone. There’s something about fresh rosemary in the winter. It has a deep, woodsy aroma that fills up the kitchen and makes me think of hiking in the snow and all that good stuff. Machengo is a sheep’s milk cheese from Spain with a firm texture and little kick, while Provolone is a more soft and rich cow’s milk cheese from Italy. The combination of the two make the perfect ‘sprinkle cheese’ in my book, and I use it on everything from pasta to vegetables. In this case, fresh rosemary is very finely chopped and tossed in with the cheeses, then sprinkled on the potatoes. Extra cheese falls on the baking sheet and turns into little crispy cheese bits which you will probably want to eat all by yourself before serving.
Ingredients
  • 12-14 small red potatoes, washed. NOTE: I’ve made this recipe with small red potatoes as well as large red potatoes and large Yukon Gold potatoes. It works beautifully for all of them, so go for whatever you like. The only thing that will change is the baking time.
  • ½ cup finely grated Machengo cheese
  • ½ cup finely grated Provolone cheese NOTE: For the cheeses to hold on to the potatoes, they will have to be in pretty tiny pieces, so it’s probably best to grate them, then chop them just to make sure they get as small as you can manage.
  • 1-2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary NOTE: A little rosemary goes a long way, so if you aren’t sure how much you can handle, you might want to start with 1 teaspoon. If you are a brave soul who loves all that is rosemary, go for two teaspoons. One teaspoon will give you a faint but noticeable aroma and taste.
  • ONE MORE THING: I reheated my recipe to test how it would hold up under those conditions (Answer: great!) but laid 3 big sprigs of fresh rosemary on the bottom of the baking dish while reheating. It was AMAZING!! The flavor was much more intense but not at all overwhelming, and the whole house smelled like a cozy winter evening should. If you have some sprigs laying around, I’d highly recommend trying it.
  • Olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.
Instructions
  1. First let’s get that cheese and rosemary stuff done: In a small bowl, toss together the chopped rosemary and grated and chopped cheeses. That’s all there is to it.
  2. On to the potatoes: You can roast these guys any way you like, but to me the easiest way to go about it is to use a rimmed cookie sheet. So: Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
  3. To get your potatoes ready: rinse them and lay flat on a cutting board. Using a SHARP peeling knife, slowly and carefully (I do not want you ending up in the ER with a knife wound), slice downward about ⅔ of the way through the potato, starting at one end. Try to keep your cuts about ¼ of an inch or less apart. When you’ve reached the halfway point, turn the potato around, grab the cut end, and start slicing from the middle to the end. This way you always have a hand full of potato and aren’t hanging on to a tiny slippery end that might get away from you. If you make a mistake and cut all the way through a potato or two, no big deal. Just shove them together as best as you can.
  4. Place the cut potato into a bowl or sink of cold water and move on to the next potato until you are all finished.
  5. Lay all of the potatoes on the cookie sheet, and drizzle or spray with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese and rosemary concoction over the top. This will have a tendency to want to slide off, so just push it down as best as you can. Remember, all that good stuff that falls onto the foil will become a crisp and irresistible little cheesy cracker.
  7. Roast in a 350-degree oven until a sharp paring knife can cut easily lengthwise through the center. For little red potatoes, start checking at about 30 minutes. It’s best to err on the side of being a little overdone rather than a little underdone.
  8. To serve: You can serve them right from the cookie sheet or lay on a bed of fresh rosemary in a nice pan if you’re in the mood. I like these with sour cream, but they are really good all by themselves, so whatever you like works for me.
Recipe by Bird's Nest Bites at https://birdsnestbites.com/hasselback-potatoes-with-fresh-rosemary-and-machengo-provolone-cheese/