When I first came across this small hasselback cutting board in a kitchen shop I had thought a soap dish had found it’s way into a box of kitchen gadgets I was rummaging through. With no packaging around it and no soap sold on the premises, I decided to ask what this wooden thing was for and this was my first introduction to a dedicated Swedish hasselback cutting board. The Swedish Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm popularized this method of preparing potatoes, hence the name hasselback.
You don’t really need one but it makes slicing easier without the hassle of accidentally cutting all the way through and messing it up. You can also place chopsticks on either side of the vegetable to help prevent the knife from slicing all the way through.
The slices are tight at first but fan out while cooking so you can easily push some extra flavors between the slices, like homemade oven-dried tomatoes or fresh herbs half-way through cooking. Keep the slices between 1/4 or 1/8 of an inch thick and if using chopsticks as a guide or perfecting your knife skills and going freehand, remove a thin slice from the bottom of each vegetable so it sits flat on your work-surface, stopping it from rolling around. It’s an easy vegetable to prepare as a side dish and like potatoes prepared this way, adds a little panache to your roast vegetables too.
Hasselback Courgettes with Oven-dried Tomatoes and Cheese
8 baby courgettes
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt
a few twists of freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 pieces of home-made oven-dried tomatoes in olive oil or use shop bought sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
How to make:
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/180°C Fan/Gas mark 6.
Slice the courgettes horizontally, making sure the slices are still attached at the base. Place courgettes on a lightly oiled baking tray.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and black pepper together. Using a basting brush, brush over the courgettes with half of the seasoned olive oil, try to get a little in between the slices without breaking them apart.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the tray of courgettes from the oven and brush over the remaining olive oil and scatter over the sun-dried tomatoes, pushing some in between the slices. Continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven scatter over some parmesan cheese and serve at once.