Pomme Rösti

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By Robert Harland

What's cooking?

Monday, August 18, 2014


LAST week, I said Rösti potatoes make a tasty accompaniment to Chicken Cordon Bleu.

This week I'm going a step further - to sing the praises of Rösti. If you're a potato lover, you'll find they are twice as delicious as the best hash-browns you've ever tasted.

Considered by many Swiss as their national dish, Rösti is made with coarsely-grated potato. In Germanic Switzerland, Rösti literally means "crisp and golden."

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It was originally eaten as a breakfast dish in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. And it's still one of the tastiest breakfast items you'll find - freshly made Rösti with a fried egg on top is delicious.

But today, the dish is more commonly served as an accompaniment, often with egg or sausage dishes.

It's a very versatile dish. There's a basic recipe, but one can include extra ingredients like bacon, onion or cheese - all delicious additions to the traditional recipe consisting only of potatoes, oil or butter, salt and pepper.

Try this simple, basic recipe. You can have fun experimenting with additional ingredients.

Ingredients

(serves 3 to 4)

600 gr potatoes
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil (or butter) for frying

Method

Peel the potatoes and grate them using the large holes of a hand grater. Put the potatoes in a large bowl, add the salt and pepper and toss to coat thoroughly.

Let the potatoes rest for 5 minutes, and then, working with a fistful at a time, squeeze as much liquid as possible out of them and transfer to a second bowl. The potatoes will start to discolor, but that won't really affect the final results.

To make one large Rösti, heat a heavy-based frying pan. Add the oil or butter. Test the temperature by dropping in a potato shred - it should sizzle enthusiastically.

When the temperature is right, take a fistful of potatoes, wring it out once more, and let it fall loosely from your fingers into the center of the pan.

Working quickly, repeat until you've got enough potato in the pan to cover the bottom. With a fork, gently spread out the shreds of potato to make a layer about 1/2 inch thick, trying to distribute them evenly.

Adjust the heat so that you hear a lively sizzle but the bottom isn't browning too rapidly. Cook until the underside is a deep golden brown and the potatoes on the top are starting to look translucent, 12 to 16 minutes. Taste a few strands. They should be almost fully cooked and tender.

If you're confident enough to just flip the Rösti in the pan, go for it. If you're not, carefully slide it out of the pan onto a dinner plate and return the pan to the heat. Put another plate on top of the Rösti and, holding tightly, flip the plates over.

Slide the inverted Rösti back into the pan and continue cooking until the new bottom is browned and the potatoes feel really tender in the middle when poked with a knife, another 6 to 8 minutes.

Slide the Rösti onto a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve as soon as possible.

If you want to make individual Rösti cakes, just follow the directions above, but drop handfuls of potatoes into the pan to create 4-inch cakes that are about 1/4 inch thick. Use a spatula to flip the cakes. Drain these small Rösti on paper towels for a few seconds before serving.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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