Roast potatoes are so last year…
I’ve openly admitted in the past that I’m not that bothered about roast potatoes. I know people love them but I find them a bit meh. But I recently started to make hassleback potatoes as a way to a make new potatoes a bit more exciting and I am hooked.
A hassleback, for those in the dark, is a potato with lots of slices made in it and then cooked in a hot oven. The great thing about cooking small or new potatoes this way, as opposed to plain old roasting them, is that the cuts open up more surface so that there are lots of crusty edges but also (unlike roasties) lots of space for new flavours to cling on.
I’ve seen all sorts of herbs and spices used for hassleback potatoes and sometimes just good old salt and pepper. But it is the perfect vehicle for my favourite mix – za’atar.
My za’atar obsession
Za’atar is a middle eastern mix of sesame seeds, sumac, oregano, marjoram and salt. It’s earthy and crunchy rather than spicy and it goes with so much. I love it on baked feta, sprinkled on flatbread, over hummus, in salad and rubbed into chicken and lamb. I buy it ready mixed from small business Spice Kitchen UK, where owner Sanjay kindly grinds it for me as well.
These za’atar hasslebacks are a great and easy addition to an otherwise plain meal as they add taste as well as texture. But to be honest you could just scoff a plate of them straight from the oven. They are also perfect for a picnic; wrap in foil and eat with your hands!
Crunchy, moorish za'atar spiced hassleback potatoes make a great side dish, canape, or picnic treat.
- New potatoes
- 4 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
- 4 tsp za'atar mix
- Sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 200c.
- Mix the spice and oil in a bowl.
- Make slits in your potatoes, taking care not to cut all the way through (see tip).
- Coat your potatoes in the oil and spice mix. The easiest way is to just get your clean hands in! Make sure you do the bottoms as well.
- Place on a baking tray, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and crispy.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Place your potatoes between chopsticks or celery if you can't cut without going through the bottom. I even tape my sticks to the worktop so they don't slip! A very sharp knife is your friend here.
Move over roastie, there’s a new potato in town!