Hasselback (sweet) potatoes

I have no idea how I heard about Hasselback potatoes. I think a character in a book had one? Or referred to one? Because I remember seeing the words and quickly doing image and recipe searches for Hasselback potatoes and wondering how I had never encountered these before. I thought I knew of everything you could do to a potato (or in my nightshade-free case, white sweet potatoes). And then once I found out about them, of course I had to make them.

Hasselback potatoes are sort of a fancy version of baked potatoes, and a way to serve potatoes that makes it look like you've done a lot more work than you actually have. They are sliced thinly only part of the way down and baked with butter, often topped with breadcrumbs or cheese.
I topped mine with breadcrumbs and served them alongside some Tofurky beer brats over greens.

My "recipe" for these is actually more of a process, since the ingredients are very simple and flexible. I use white sweet potatoes because I can't eat regular potatoes, but feel free to use whatever kind you want; orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, real potatoes, taro roots, whatever. (In fact, any root vegetable would probably be tasty this way, though cooking times would be vary depending on the vegetable.)

Hasselback (Sweet) Potatoes

1 potato per person
Olive oil and a pinch of salt OR vegan butter/margarine, depending on how much work you want to do (you'll see what I mean below)
Optional toppings:
1-2 Tbsp bread crumbs per potato/person
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast per potato/person
1 clove garlic, crushed, minced, or sliced incredibly thinly
1-2 Tbsp shredded vegan cheese per potato/person
Optional garnish:
Chopped fresh herbs

Preheat your oven to 425, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and wash your potato(es) thoroughly.

Set your potato on a cutting board and prop it between two chopsticks. These serve as guides for your knive, so you won't chop all the way through the potato as you make your slices. You can also use barbeque skewers, or you can even set the potato in a large spoon if it'll fit. This sounds tricky but is very easy. Now slice through the potato, stopping your slicing when you reach the guides you set down. You will have an accordion-like potato at the end of this step!

Here's where you can make this easy, or a little more work. If you want it easy, as I did, you can now simply drizzle olive oil over the potato, trying to get into each of the slots. Sprinkle on a little salt. If you want to do a little more work for a slightly more delicious potato, slice cold margarine into very thin slices, and place a slice in each potato slot. This would also be a good time to add very thinly sliced garlic to each potato slot, if you wanted to. (I want someone else to do this for me, because it sounds awesome but I am lazy.)

Place your potato on your baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, until soft all the way through with crispy, browning edges. If you want any of the optional toppings, (which you can mix and match by the way!), take your potatoes out of the oven after 30 or so minutes, before they're completely done, and sprinkle your topping over the potatoes. Push some of it into the slots if you can, but I had some trouble with that step because the potatoes were hot! Return to the oven and let the potatoes cook for 10-15 more minutes, until the potato is cooked all the way through and the topping is starting to brown a bit.