potatoes sorta rösti

Originally eaten by the farmers in Bern, Switzerland, rösti is now recognized as one of the premier side dishes in the entire German-speaking portion of Europe. It is their version of hash-brown potatoes. I first discovered it while in Germany at the time of the election of Ronald Reagan in the U. S. It was so good, I had it at every occasion thereafter on that trip.

“It’s just hash-browns,” I told myself. “No, it’s better than American hash browns,” I replied. I don’t know how they did it, but I have been trying to duplicate that taste and texture ever since.

Traditional rösti is made with roughly grated potato, either cooked or raw, served in patty form. They are most often pan fried, but can also be baked in the oven. Although classic rösti consists of nothing but potato, a number of additional ingredients are sometimes added, such as bacon, onion, cheese, apple, or fresh herbs. This is often considered to be a regional touch.

There are different views on what makes a perfect rösti, such as whether to use raw or boiled potatoes, or whether to use this or that kind of potato, whether to add other ingredients. Because I am basically oriented to cut to the chase in such matters, I use uncooked Idaho potatoes with Parmesan cheese, pure and simple.

  • 2 medium Idaho potatoes, sliced in match stick thin pieces through a mandoline
  • 1 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic purée
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Grease a non-stick oven dish (or make your own with non-stick foil). Dump the potato mixture into the bowl and pat down to make an even layer. Try to press down any “matches” that may be sticking up, as these will brown first. Bake covered at 375°F for about 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 15 minutes until the top is browned. Remove to a cutting board and chop into patty-sized portions for serving.

Thai Pickled Chiles

For those who can jandle jalapeńos (or handle halapeńos) as a garnish with meals, here is an accompaniment that will get your attention quickly, intently, and, for a while, lastingly. The Thai chile is about the same size as the Tabascos often sold pickled in vinegar. This recipe is equally as hot, but has a much better flavor.

  • 1 cup fresh Thai chile peppers
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1¼ tsp <salt>

Assemble all ingredients in an attractive jar you can take to the dinner table. The calcium chloride helps maintain the colors of the chiles. Refrigerate one week. Eat one or two (in little bites with other food) each meal in winter to save on heating expenses. Keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator.