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Rösti

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 18 December 2010 at 16:29
From time/Life's Foods of the World: A Quintet of Cuisines - 1970:
 
Quote Rösti [pronounced "roesti"] potatoes are as indigenous to Swiss country cooking as hashed brown potatoes are to the United States. Cold cooked potatoes are coarsley shredded on a special rösti grater with tear-shaped openings (they can be bought in the United States, although our four-sided, stand-up graters do the job quite as well). Then they are packed down in a pan filled with sputtering butter, crisply fried on one side, turned over and fried on the other. The result is a crusty potato cake with a basket-weave pattern on both sides....Ideally...the grated potatoes are of the type (baking potatoes, we would call them) that contain enough startch to make the shreds adhere - it is indeed possible to flip the rösti like a flapjack. I have seen this maneuver executed skillfully, although I consider it not only exhibitionist but decidedly unpredictable, even when performed by an expert chef....
 
Here's the recipe:
 
Quote Rösti
Fried Shredded Potato Cake
 
To serve 4 to 6
  • 9 medium-sized baking potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Drop the poatoes into enough boiling water to cover them completely and cook briskly for 10 minutes, or until the point of a knife can be inserted about 1 inch into a potato before meeting any resistance. Drain the potatoes. When cool enough to handle, peel them carefully with a small, sharp knife, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Just before frying potatoes, grate them into long strips on the tear-shaped side of a four-sided stand-up grater. Toss lightly with the salt.

In a heavy 10-inch slope-sided skillet (preferably one with a nonstick cooking surface), heat the oil and butter over moderate heat until a drop of water flicked over them splutters and evaporates instantly. Drop in the potatoes and, with a spatula, spread them evenly in the pan. Fry uncovered for 8 to 10 mintues, using a spatula to gently lift up a side of the potatoes to check their colour as they brown. When the underside of the potato cake is as brown as you can get it, without letting it burn, place a plate upside down over the skillet. Grasping the skillet and plate firmly together, invert them quickly. Then, carefully slide the potato cake, browned side up, back into the skillet. (If you are not using a pan with a nonstick surface, add more butter and oil before returning the potatoes to the pan.) Fry for 6-8 minutes, or until the bottom side of the potatoes is as evenly-browned as the top and the edges are crisp.
 
Slide the potato cake evenly onto a heated platter and serve at once.
 
NOTE: Rösti potatoes are often made with onions or bacon. Sauté 1/2 cup of finely chopped onions in 3 tablespoons of butter until they are soft and transparent. Drop half the shredded potatoes into the skillet, pat them flat and smooth and spread the onions evenly over them before adding the remaining potatoes, patting them down as before.  Or fry 1/2 cup of finely diced bacon until the bits are crisp, drain on paper towels and spread the bacon over half the potatoes as described for the onions.
 
On a, cold, grey Friday night in November, I prepared a simple Swiss/German peasant supper for the beautiful Mrs. Tas and myself using this recipe. This was my third attempt at making rösti; the first two tries had not gone well and the potatoes had burned quite badly. After careful re-reading, I think I discovered why: the recipe, which i had never thoroughly read, specifies that the potatoes to be used should be par-boiled and cooled previously to shredding, Before, I had only shredded them raw and attempted to make the rösti before they were cooked. This time, I was determined to do it right, so I took a bit of a shortcut in the form of buying pre-shredded and frozen hashed brown potatoes. I also used a cast-iron frying pan, rather than the heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan that I had used the two times before.
 
Here are the goods for the entire meal, whcih consisted of bratwurst, sauerkraut, and rösti topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions:
 
 
Also, tonight we were enjoying a special wine that was perfect for the meal, an award-winning Riesling from Mission Mountain Winery, located right here in Montana:
 
 
I prepared the rösti, along with the rest of the meal, all at once. it was a bit of a challenge where timing was concerned, but it went well. First, I browned the bratwurst on both sides:
 
 
Then, I began the rösti by tossing the thawed hash browns over some heat. The butter was just the right temperature and the shreds sizzled and sputtered when they hit the heated cast-iron pan:
 
 
After a few minutes, I put an inverted plate on top of the pan and flipped the pan and plate over together:
 
 
In spite of the washed-out flash of the photo, you can see that it worked fairly well this time with no sticking and a good golden-brown colour - not too bad!
 
I returned the rösti to the pan:
 
 
Then, I turned my attention to the bratwursts, which were simmering in saurkraut:
 
 
I kept the sauerkraut in motion and turned the bratwursts now and then during the entire cooking time for the rösti until the liquid had pretty much boiled away.
 
Meanwhile, I was also sautéing some mushrooms and onions in a little butter, finishing at the end with a spash or two of the Riesling to make add some crisp, bright highlights to the savory richness:
 
 
Before long, the rösti was finished, and I turned it out onto a plate:
 
 
No burning, crisp and golden-brown, just a little bit darker than i prefer in some places, but overall it looks like this time was a success. I divided a portion out of the main pancake for both Mrs. Tas and myself, and served the potatoes alongside the bratwursts and sauerkraut:
 
 
The Montana-grown-and-vinted Riesling was a perfect accompanyment for this meal, which was a good fusion of German and Swiss specialties; probably not 100% accurate for either cuisine, but plenty of strong elements of both. I elected to top the potatoes with the sautéed mushrooms and onions, rather than using the onions as a filling as mentioned above, but no big deal - i am sure somewhere along the line, someone in Switzerland has done exactly the same!
 
 
The highlight of the meal, the rösti, tasted very good with a crisp and buttery exterior and a tender, savory interior full of potatoey richnessness; a very good side dish that complimented the rest of the memorable meal perfectly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kiwi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2010 at 17:06
I love this stuff. It's a favourite side of mine, I've never tried it with premade hash though. I do a local spin sometimes by using kumara and heaps of paprika.

Parboiling nis indeed key. I also leave them to stand in a colander after salting to draw out some moisture, I seem to get a better consistency that way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2010 at 17:23
Outstanding!  Very close to the sauerkraut and kartoffeln dishes which are traditional in the heavily German part of Indiana which Mrs. Andy's and my families hail from.   You did good!  Riesling is an excellent choice of wine as well. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2010 at 18:30
Very nicely done, and congratulations on your success~ the whole dinner looks fabulous and those mushrooms on top were the key touch of excellence, I would imagine, wow. Looks delicious and mouth-watering! How was the wine; did it go well with the dish? I imagine a Riesling would, just curious about that particular Montana wine which I've never tasted. Nice to hear about another culinary sucess! Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2010 at 18:41
thanks, guys - the rosti was really good, and along with the rest of the meal, i was really ahving an old-world time. mrs. tas was not too impressed with the bratwursts; they are un-cured and un-smoked, which have a flavour that she is not fond of; however, she did enjoy everything else.
 
kiwi - i imagine that the parboiling plus straining would have worked very well - the choice of pre-made shreds was due to convennience and because i wanted to be sure to do it right this time. next time, i would like to try the  home-made way.
 
andy and john - this was the first riesling i had ever tried, and i was suitably impressed i am not yet enough of a connosuir to give a run-down of its characteristics, save to say that it tasted very good and it went very well with the meal. i could really get a full-grape taste with a little sweetness, but not too much. it seemed that as i let it sit a while, the taste got "fuller" and richer, although the chill had worn off.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2016 at 21:40
During our correspondence, Brook (HistoricFoodie) added some comments and tips for this wonderful dish:

Quote It does work a lot better if you start with cooked spuds, and use the coarse blade on your four-sided grater. Also, try adding a bit more oil and bringing up the heat next time. That should crisp up the outside while leaving the inside moist and tender. 
Combining oil and butter is a standard technique for raising the smoke point while retaining the buttery flavor. If you use ghee, you shouldn't have to add additional oil, and the nuttiness of the ghee should really compliment the potatoes. 

My Dad used to make a potato kugle that was similar in nature. He'd finely grate the raw potatoes and let them drain, then mix with eggs, seasonings, and a smidgeon of matzoh meal. Flour or breadcrumbs will do just as well. This was then fried in a skillet until brown and crisp on both sides.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2016 at 07:05
...is indeed possible to flip the rösti like a flapjack. I have seen this maneuver executed skillfully, although I consider it not only exhibitionist but decidedly unpredictable, even when performed by an expert chef....

Which simply means that the author is incapable of the feat.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2016 at 12:48
A distant relative of my favorite breakfast, papas con huevos.
A potato, unpeeled, in a 1/4" dice, slowly browned in some oil, 1/2 of a small onion, chopped and stirred in the potatoes until the onion pieces start to brown, than 2 or 3 eggs, lightly beaten poured over the potato-onion mixture, cooked until the eggs have set, served in warm corn tortillias with salsa.
I have tried the hash browns available here, thought they were poor, stale and almost rancid oil and cook up soggy unless deep fried.
I am sure there are decent brands available,just not here.
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