OK, first what is the difference between potato rostis, hash browns and latkes?
Broadly speaking, they are similar as they are all made with shredded potatoes that are pan fried until crispy. The other thing they all have in common is that I am a fan of all three.????
However, there are subtle differences:
- Rostis (or properly spelt rösti), which originate from Switzerland, typically are pan fried in a medium(ish) skillet then cut up to serve as a side dish for a meal;
- Hash browns are usually individual size – think Macca’s hash browns – and served for breakfast; and
- Latkes are also individual size but usually bound with some egg and flour, and because of these additions, they are not as crispy – unless you use basically deep fry them.
There was a recipe for rösti in a recent issue of Saveur. It was light on the fat and heavy on the potato and sounded delicious. It tasted even better. The crisp crust of potato yields to a smooth and creamy interior. It was so delicious that sitting here writing about it has prompted me to scheme about making this for dinner tonight. It was perfect as is, but I really loved it served with some sour cream and scallions. We ate this with a big salad. It is something that I plan on making a lot of this winter.
This is a good recipe for right now, when, if you are anything like me, you’re in need of some comfort food. It is going to be a long night, friends. Eat up.
- 2¼ pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large)
- 2 tablespoons lard or unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Peel potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.
Heat lard and oil in an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When lard has melted, add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and mix well, coating potatoes with fat. Using a metal spatula, gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet. Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rösti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve. [optional: serve with sour cream and scallions]
*** Yes, it is a lot of salt. But potatoes need a lot of salt. You can adjust, but this seemed right to me.
***People have argued in favor of a rösti made with raw potatoes. I have tried and it is not as good. It is really worth the effort of pre-cooking the potatoes.