Cookbook Club

Here's Why You Should Hasselback Your Potato Gratin

November 17, 2017

This month, our Cookbook Club members are making their way through J. Kenji López-Alt's The Food Lab and one of the most popular recipes so far has been his Cheesy Hasselback Potato Gratin, a dish he calls “the ultimate potato casserole.”

That's a bold claim, but we're inclined to agree. Just read López-Alt's explanation for what makes this dish such a stunner:

Here’s the idea: We all love potato gratin, correct? The creamy, layered casserole of potatoes and cream with a crisp browned top. We also love Hasselback potatoes, those cute side dishes achieved by making thin, parallel slices almost all the way through a potato, stuffing butter and cheese between them, and roasting them until golden brown and crisp. What if I were to combine the two concepts into one gloriously crispy, creamy, crunchy, cheesy casserole?

"Please cover me in cream and cheese!" —Hasselback potatoes

The results are so good, that he admits to making it only in the middle of the night so he can finish it all by himself. Members clearly agree with the epic nature of this dish (though we advocate for sharing with others!)—here’s what some of them have to say:

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Daniela Gerson exclaims:

Whoa—I’m already dreaming of making this again! With a mandoline, it’s actually a pretty quick dish to prep and the potatoes come out perfectly crispy with cheesy goodness all around. Will definitely be making this again.

J.D. Watson shares:

[The Hasselback Gratin was] spectacular. It was suggested that we have [it] every night.

Lynn Cross Krizic says:

Gruyère (or Comté) and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses definitely take this gratin to an off the charts wicked level of deep, flavorful, rich deliciousness. The only thing 'thin' about this gratin is the recommendation to use longer, thinner (versus rounder) russet potatoes. With a three-part baking time totaling 90 minutes, this is a somewhat time-intensive dish. However, in the spirit of 'good things come to those who wait,’ don't let its prep or baking time deter you from making it. If you are looking for a new potato dish for your Thanksgiving dinner or any other special occasion family/friends dinner, J. Kenji López-Alt gave us 'the' one.

J. Kenji López-Alt’s classic Cheesy Hasselback Potato Gratin and a sweet potato version with cinnamon brown butter and pecans. Photo by Daniela Gerson, Joy Huang

Luckily, you don't need to have picked up The Food Lab yet to test out a Hasselback potato gratin. Here are 5 recipes to try—just turn your potato slices on their side and make sure there's enough cream in the dish to bubble up and keep the potatoes from drying out:

New to the Cookbook Club? Head here for all of the details on what's ahead for the Club and how to participate.

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I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.