We already know of the benefits of hasselbacking a potato—very impressive, lots of caramelized edges, crevices for fillings. But when you cut your potato with fewer slices and then also cut it the other way, you’ve got all the benefits of a hasselback in addition to one very important one: That potato just became finger food. A Pull-Apart Cheesy Baked Potato is like a baked potato crossed with a French fry. Or rather, cheese fries. Now the question is, why didn’t we think of this sooner? And did you just wander over to preheat your oven? —Ali Slagle
Russet potato, scrubbed clean and dried
Fillings of choice: Some idea combos include cheddar + kimchi, mozzarella + lemon zest + rosemary, bacon + curry powder + gruyere, blue cheese + hazelnuts, jalapeno + scallion + jack cheese
Wrap the potato in a paper towel and microwave for 4 minutes, flipping over halfway through. The potato should have a little give; if it doesn’t, stick it in the microwave for a minute or two more.
Meanwhile, prepare your fillings. Cheese should be grated, and all other ingredients should be ready for eating—meaning cooked and bite-sized.
Let your taters cool until you can handle them easily. Then, coat the outside of the potato with oil. Using a serrated knife, and starting from one side, use a serrated knife to slice the potato ¾ of the way through, then move a little over and slice again. Then do the same thing the other way.
Then, gently stick the not-cheese toppings into each slit (don’t forget the crosswise ones). Then do the same with the cheese (this way, the toppings don’t burn and the cheese melts). Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until the potato is cooked through and the cheese is melty, 5 to 10 minutes. Eat! With your hands, preferably.