röstiˈrəːsti/nouna Swiss dish of grated potatoes formed into a small flat cake and fried.
When making rösti I’ve always gone for the grated and squeezed raw potato method, which has worked fine as far as I’m concerned.
However I recently read a thing on the internet that said you should parboil your potatoes for precisely 6 minutes, then cool before grating. I can’t for the life of me remember where I read this, but I believe the person said they’d been taught to do it this way whilst growing up in Switzerland, and they spelled it ‘röschti’, so it seemed to me that they might know what they were talking about. Worth giving it a go, anyway.
So I set about making my first batch of rösti using the parboiling method, with the intention that I also do a comparison batch using my original method. However, I got sidetracked by a book during the cooling time for the parboiled spuds and by the time I remembered what I was supposed to be doing, hunger was pushing me to just cook and eat.
I then got a bit carried away, adding the onions and blue cheese, thus I can’t definitively say whether or not the parboiling makes a substantial difference to a basic rösti. I can definitively say that this less than authentic version tastes fan-bloody-tastic!
1 medium, or a couple of small, waxy* potatoes per person
*Charlottes are generally easy to get hold of in the UK
1 small onion
Blue cheese of choice (I used Danish Blue)
A knob of butter
A couple of splashes of vegetable oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Before you start, you need to find a plate the fits over your frying pan…ideally it should be slightly larger than the pan or fit snugly just inside at the top edge. Set it to one side cos you’ll need it later to turn your rösti over.
You’ll have to improvise if you don’t have a big enough plate (how large is your frying pan? Or should that be, how small are your plates?). Maybe you could try covering a chopping board with baking foil…it just needs to be heatproof and have a smooth, slidey surface.
Place your unpeeled potatoes into a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 6 minutes.
Drain and cool, then refrigerate for at least two hours. Three hours and fifty two minutes is about right if you have a book to read 😉
Coarsely grate the potatoes, skin and all, into a bowl.
Coarsely grate the onion on top and season with salt and pepper.
Heat half the butter and oil in a frying pan, over a medium to high heat; when it’s sizzling tip in half the potato mix and spread evenly across pan.
Add your blue cheese, then cover with the remaining potatoes.
Shake your pan around to level things out a bit then allow it to cook for a few minutes before starting to shape your rösti using a spatula. Don’t squish it down too much.
Leave to cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the bottom is golden and crispy.
Take your larger-than-the-pan sized plate, place over the pan, flip everything upside down, and you should now have an empty pan and a plate containing a half done rösti, cooked side up.
Heat the remainder of your butter and oil, again until it’s sizzling, then slide the rösti back into the pan.
Cook for a further 10 minutes and serve.
Served for supper with a small undressed salad on the side.
The last minute addition of a dollop of horseradish sauce was, if I may say, a stroke of gustatory genius. If you have some, you should go for it. If not, you could try mustard, which is the condiment I originally intended to use, before the jar of horseradish sashayed seductively into my field of vision.