By PAUL SIDORIAK
As I grill, seldom do I forget I am embracing my inner caveman in some capacity. I get great enjoyment out of putting a smile on dinner guests’ faces when they taste food cooked in a way they may not have expected. Seldom do I stumble upon a new interpretation of a basic old side dish with as much excitement as when I found this one.
Baked potatoes on the grill have got to be one of the easiest things to make, provided that you have the time to let them cook properly and don’t burn the heck out of them. This is a fancy version of the grilled baked potato. It’s called a Hasselback potato and rumor has it, it originated at a restaurant in Sweden, but I have no real confirmation on that.
The concept is simple: Bake a potato on the grill as you would normally. But before you do, make some strategic cuts in the potato to expose its inner beauty. I took a wooden spoon and set it on my cutting board. I nestled up the baking potato next to the spoon’s handle and used it like a template for how deep to cut.
The plan was to slice the potato from top to bottom like I was cutting the potato into chips, but without cutting completely thru. At first, I was nervous when cutting that I would cut through and ruin the potato. Then I realized I needed to relax. It was a potato, not a lobster tail. If I messed up, I would be out about 17 cents, not 17 dollars.
After I got a grip on perspective, the knife cuts fell into place, and the potato was cut to my liking. It was prepped and ready for grilling.
I washed it before I started cutting. After I cut the potato, I gave it a second rinse and a pat dry. I put the spud in a small pan and roasted it on the grill with a liberal pat of butter on top. When I checked on it, it was picking up amazing grilled flavor and baking nicely in my outdoor grilling oven.
At about the half hour mark, I peeled the potato slices apart and added a few pieces of pepper jack and brie cheese to the segments. As I put the potato back on the grill, the cheese had already started to slowly melt and absorb flavor.
I wanted to top the potato with a little extra crunch and flavor so I concocted a topping that would taste delicious. I used a little olive oil, Panko bread crumbs, fresh grated horseradish, some spices, and grated parmesan cheese. The oil would brown the crumbs and give a nutty flavor to the topping. I sprinkled and patted the topping on to the spuds after they had been roasting for close to an hour. When the breadcrumbs were golden brown and sizzling with the melted cheese, I knew they were done.
These tubers were toasty and needed to rest, giving me enough time to grill up some steaks to go along. The potatoes were so good, I barely even remember how the steak was… or was it chicken?
Join me and other barbeque artsists for the 4th annual Montana Big Green Egg Festival, August 18, at the Axmen.
An Eggfest is a venue for Big Green Egg enthusiasts to showcase their talents on the Big Green Egg barbecue. It is also an opportunity for those who have been contemplating a Big Green Egg to sample the foods and talk to other egg enthusiasts. In other words the Eggfest is a good excuse to get a bunch of people together and make some great food. Cooks come from all over to showcase their talents and the attendees get the pleasure of being the audience.
Admission is just $10 and all proceeds from admissions benefit the Jadyn Fred Foundation, a foundation dedicated to helping kids with higher medical needs. Purchase your tickets online or at the Axmen, (The Axmen is located at 7655 Highway 10 West, 3 miles west of the Missoula airport.)
Check out Paul’s other tasty summer grill recipes in his grilling blog archive. Get ‘em while they’re hot!