Potato Rosti

Potato rosti with roasted fennel and smoked trout

Rosti go by many names – rösti, potato pancakes, hash browns and latkes, to name just a few – and come in many variations. At heart though, they are simply grated potato mixed with a little salt, and whatever other flavourings you choose to add, like onion, herbs and/or cheese. I’ve been wanting to try them for ages and when a friend bought round some smoked trout, I decided it was the perfect opportunity.

After doing some fairly extensive research on Pinterest (there are quite a few methods out there, believe me), I decided to keep the base very simple and rather go wild on the toppings.

So for the base, I went with the requisite potato and salt, plus a little fresh lemon thyme. I subsequently made them again and added some grated onion, which worked really well too. Next time round, I’d like to try using sweet potato instead, which I can imagine will be equally delicious, if slightly sweeter, and I’ve also seen recipes that include grated cheese, so it cooks in with the potato. Yum!

A few things worth mentioning here:

1) From each large potato you will get about 3 or 4 thin rosti. I’ve listed 2 large potatoes in the recipe here, which serves 2 people as a light meal, depending on what you put on top.

2) The rosti bases do take a while to cook, especially as you need to do them in batches (unless you have several frying pans). I made them while I pottered around doing other things, just checking up on them every couple of minutes. You can also cook them in advance if it’s more convenient, and then just heat the whole batch in the oven. I’ve seen recipes for oven-baked versions too – I’m not sure how well they’d work but they may be worth a try as they’d definitely require less attention.

3) You can fry them in canola or olive oil, but I’d really recommend going with coconut oil as the healthiest option by far – it’s actually good for you! See why here.

For the toppings, you can go with a huge variety of flavours. There’s:

  • The fishy option (see mine below)
  • The Greek/Italian option with roasted aubergine slices and/or peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, avocado and fresh basil or rocket
  • The cheesy option with any cheese e.g. cheddar (put it under the grill to melt if you like), brie or camembert, plus fresh tomato and spring onion (add some chutney, mustard or pesto for variation)
  • The eggy option with bacon or ham, mushrooms and eggs of your choice (fried, poached, scrambled)
  • Etc, etc

By the way, if you ever decide to serve these at a party, I’d recommend preparing a range of options so people can mix and match what catches their fancy.

The fishy ones in the picture are topped with Greek yoghurt mixed with a whole bunch of chopped, fresh herbs from my garden (fennel, parsley, chives, basil and even some nasturtium leaves). Then I added slices of roasted fennel bulb, some spring onions, feta, chopped boiled egg, smoked trout and my naturally preserved cucumbers. Needless to say, it was quite messy to eat, but so delicious and well worth it!

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Ingredients

  • 2 large or 4 small potatoes, raw
  • Pinch salt
  • ½t fresh or dried herbs e.g. thyme, chives or parsley (optional)
  • 1 – 2T raw onion, grated (optional)
  • 1 – 2T oil, preferably coconut, for frying

Topping ideas

  • Greek yoghurt
  • Cream cheese
  • Fresh herbs e.g. basil, rocket, parsley, chives, fennel
  • Smoked salmon or trout
  • Cooked bacon or ham
  • Eggs – hard-boiled, poached, fried or scrambled
  • Cheese of any kind e.g. feta, grated cheddar or brie
  • Grilled or roasted fennel bulb slices
  • Grilled or roasted aubergine slices
  • Grilled or roasted red pepper slices or chunks
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • Cucumber, sliced or chopped small
  • Avocado, mashed or sliced
  • Fresh tomato, sliced
  • Marinaded sun-dried tomatoes, slivered
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Gherkins – brined or preserved (like these ones here)
  • Olives, depipped
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chutney
  • Mustard
  • Pesto

Method

Peel the potatoes, then grate them. If your grater is small and your potatoes large, it helps to cut them in half lengthwise first.

Peel potatoes

Grate potatoes

Place the raw grated potato in batches in a clean tea towel or piece of muslin (I promise this one was actually clean before I squeezed the first batch).

Place grated potato in a teatowel

Gather up the edges and holding it over the sink, squeeze hard, twisting as you do.

Twist and squeeze

You’ll see a lot of water and starch come out, leaving you with much drier grated potato. This step is actually one of the secrets of making rosti work so leave it out at your peril.

Squeezed grated potato

Place the dry potato in a bowl, and add the salt plus onion and herbs if you’re using them.

Place squeezed potato in a bowl with salt and herbs

Mix well while you heat some coconut oil in a frying pan on low-medium heat (I used 3 out of 6). Drop a few strands of potato into the oil and if they sizzle, the oil is ready.

Carefully place tablespoons of the potato mix into the pan, three or four at a time, depending on how big your pan is. Use the back of a spoon to shape them a bit better and squash them down firmly. I like to make them quite thin so they end up crispy and cooked through – obviously the fatter you make them, the longer they will take to cook through and the less crispy they are likely to be.

Place tablespoons of potato in the hot pan

Now leave them to cook without disturbing them, until you can lift just the edge of one of them with a spatula and see that it’s a nice golden brown colour. This can take anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes, depending on the potato and the temperature of your stove. Note: If you try to move them before this point, they tend to stick like glue.

One side just about cooked - notice the edges browning

When the one side is ready, use a spatula to move them carefully to a plate, cooked side down.

Move temporarily to a plate

Now swirl your oil around to make sure the entire surface is covered again – you may need to add a bit more oil, in which case wait until it’s heated before you move on.

Add a bit more oil if necessary and heat it up

Carefully place the rosti back in the pan, flipping them as you do, so the other side can cook to the same golden brown colour, and the potato can finish cooking through.

Flipped rosti

When the other side is done, remove them to a plate again (you can place them on a kitchen towel if you want to soak up some of the oil), and keep them warm in a warming drawer or low oven while you finish the rest.

Cooked rosti on a paper towel

You can also cook them all in advance, and then simply reheat in the oven at 180°C for about 15 minutes. When I do this, I put them in one layer on a grill rack, so they can get crispy again on both sides.

Top with whatever takes your fancy or you happen to have in the fridge – use your imagination and enjoy!

 

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© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2015

 

 

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