Give in to the lure of the lovely Hasselback potato

Traci Arbios

Being so clued-in to social media can be a blessing and a curse.

The blessing: One learns about new and amazing crafts and recipes that one must try. The curse: One learns about new and amazing crafts and recipes that one must try.

At issue: My "must do" list stretches ahead into next January, while my budget limps along back in July somewhere.

Luckily, one of the nifty items on my list was the Hasselback potato — that beautiful, fanned-out baked potato making constant appearances on my Facebook timeline. I'm not sure who first put forward the post, but it seems I run into a gorgeous photo of these delicious-looking spuds every few days, usually at my most ravenous moments.

The sad sorry truth is, I'm not a huge potato maker. For years, low-carb diets have been the trend, and I have a ton of very positive things to say about reducing carbohydrates in one's daily consumption. But — and with carbs, there is always a very large but (buh-doom-bah) — the high-starch, carbohydrate-laden potato is delicious. Before dieters permanently write off these beloved tubers, know that they have roughly 4 grams of protein and plenty of fiber.

"In addition," says Prevention Magazine, "one medium baked potato (including the skin) provides 20 percent of your daily potassium, a known hypertension fighter." Granted, I prefer my hyper-tension fighter drenched in butter, sour cream and bacon, but the potato can be consumed in other delectable, less-fatty ways.

If you're looking for a solid side dish to wow friends or a simple entree to enjoy in front of the TV, give the Hasselback potato a try. Apparently a Swedish dish, the Hasselback is a thinly sliced, fan-like baked potato that — much like virtually any other type of baked potato — can be topped with any number of delicious items. This recipe does call for butter and Parmesan cheese, but it also requires no peeling and keeps all the nutrients that linger beneath the skin intact.

Hasselback Potatoes

4 baking potatoes, scrubbed

4 tablespoons melted butter

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs (or other dry breadcrumbs)

Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place a washed potato on your cutting board, and set a wooden spoon handle next to it, running along the length of the potato's base. With a sharp knife, begin making thin (1/8-inch to 1/4-inch) slices across the potato's width. As you cut downward, use the spoon's handle to act as your cutting guide so you don't slice down all the way through the potato. Prepare all 4 potatoes in this way.

Place the cut potatoes in a baking dish. Spread 2 tablespoons of butter atop the prepared potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and top each potato with the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and the remaining butter. Re-season with salt and pepper and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and let then cool slightly before consuming with abandon.