Hasselbacking

This will have nothing to do with either a former pro quarterback, his reality show bride, or a misspelling of a certain actor with a talking car. No, we are talking about cooking, and doing it with a little extra work and a lot of extra flair.

To hasselback loosely means to cut it into thin strips without cutting all the way through. Then you roast and serve. It is designed to create a lot of “ooohs” and “aahhhhs” when you bring the platter to the table and it does not disappoint. This technique originated in the 1950’s in Sweden. A trainee chef named Leif Ellison at the Hasselbacken restaurant put the sliced, yet whole, potatoes on the menu and the rest is history.

A Hasselback Potato

You can hasselback a plethora of veggies…anything that you would like to roast that will hold slices well. I mostly see recipes for potatoes and squashes, but I have to imagine you could do it with turnips, beets, rutabagas, etc, etc. How beautiful would a platter of mixed hasselbacked root veggies look on your Thanksgiving table? Hmmmm…I might have to try that and let you know how it goes.

My beautiful butternut squash. You just can’t beat local produce for quality.

The recipe I chose to try was this hasselback butternut squash with sage butter and prosciutto one I Pinned for FarmLink last year. It is from the ah-mazing Teighan at Half Baked Harvest. I will surely feature a ton of her recipes here…they are just that good.

So…hasselbacking. Not nearly as complicated as you might think. I have done a bit of it with potatoes and one of the staff made squash like this the other night. She complained that it was hard to slice the squash so thin. That’s why I love this recipe…you roast it for about 15 minutes and then do the slicing. It softens the squash up enough to get through it easily with a knife.

I lined up two wooden spoons on either side of the squash as I cut it. Kept me from getting too enthusiastic and going right through to the cutting board. Anything that is about the same size should work. I have used the square disposable chopsticks from the Chinese take out as well.

No amount of good looks will make up for bland taste. The butter and maple syrup are make the squash shine. Don’t leave out the sage. You need a little savory to punch up the sweet.

BLiS (stands for Because Life is Short). One of my favorite sauce companies

As always, I changed the recipe a little. I had this to die for Bourbon barrel maple syrup from BLiS in the fridge, so I used that. If you can get your hands on some I highly recommend using it. I think just adding bourbon would be too much, but if bourbon is your jam go for it. And on a side note, please invest in some really good pure maple syrup. It is worth every penny and you will never regret it.

Another change was I left off the topping. I know, I know…why would I do that. It involves bacon, after all. I’m going to tell you a secret here: I am probably the only person in the world that isn’t a big fan of bread crumb toppings. I think is due to my ambivalence towards butter (shhhhh…don’t tell anyone…I know that makes me a freak). So I didn’t spend precious time making the breadcrumb prosciutto topping. Instead, we gave it a go plain.

My plain Hasselback Squash.

Okay, it might not need the breadcrumbs, but it definitely needs the salty meat topping. Since I hadn’t planned on making the topping, I didn’t have any prosciutto on hand. So I quick fried up some bacon and we crumbled that over the top. Prosciutto would probably be better, but the bacon filled in perfectly.

I have to say this is the perfect sizzle for your Holiday table. It presents like a dream and tastes just as good. It can also be made ahead – it just doesn’t get any better.

And don’t forget to try and source as much of your meal locally as you can. It not only tastes better, it helps your local farmer and your local food communities.

Hasselback Squash with Crumbled Bacon

  • Servings: 6 - 8 as a side
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, cut in half the long way and seeded
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 TBLS salted butter (or add 1/4 tsp of salt to your unsalted butter) room temperature
  • 3 TBLS maple syrup (I used Bourbon Maple Syrup from BLiS
  • 2 tsp fresh sage leaves + more for serving
  • 3 oz bacon crumbled (or prosciutto baked and crumbled)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 425° (400° if using convection). Peel your squash halves with a vegetable peeler. Rub the peeled squash with the olive oil and salt and pepper.>
  • Cover a rimmed sheet pan with foil or parchment paper. Place the squash, seed hole down, on the sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes. It should be starting to soften but not too much.>
  • While the squash is roasting, put the butter, maple syrup, and chopped sage in a bowl and stir to combine.>
  • Remove the squash from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Put a wooden spoon on either side of the squash and using a sharp knife, slice the squash at 1/4 inch intervals, without going all the way through to the cutting board. Return the squash to the pan, cut side up. Spread half of the butter/syrup mixture over the squash. Try to get the mixture down in between the slices.>
  • Return to the oven and roast for another 30 minutes. Then spread the remaining butter mixture over the top. Roast for another 15-20 minutes. until it is soft.>
  • During the last 20 minutes of baking, fry up some bacon and drain on paper towels. Crumble into a bowl and save.>
  • Remove the squash from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with any butter mixture on the bottom of the pan. Top with crumbled bacon and head to the table. Serve this beauty warm.

    Note: Go to the original recipe for instructions on how to make ahead or to make the bread crumb prosciutto topping. You should go there anyway…her pictures are beautiful.

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