In search of the perfect Rösti…

Widely considered to be a Swiss national dish the humble Rösti (pronounced, rer-shtee) was originally served up for breakfast to hungry farmers in Canton Bern. In terms of its history, there is no official record of when the first Rösti was fried up, or by whom. All we can say for certain is that its creation postdates the discovery of America, as before that there were no potatoes in Europe! In its truest form the Rösti consists of just two basic ingredients, potato and butter. Sounds simple enough? The cooking method however is subject to some debate. Should the potatoes be grated raw? Should they be parboiled first? Should they be peeled then boiled or should the skins be left on? And should only butter be used for frying? Traditional recipes have been passed on through generations and each region has its own version. In Zurich for example they grate the potatoes raw, whilst the rest of the country opts to parboil them first. You might also be tempted to add a couple of little extras but this is a definite no if you want to produce an authentic Rösti. Add onions to the recipe and you have a hash brown! However it seems universally acceptable to top your Rösti with liberal amounts of alpine cheese, bacon and a fried egg or two! Ein Guete!

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish

2 large waxy potatoes

2 tbsp butter

Salt & pepper

Parboil the potatoes until just tender then drain, cool and allow them to chill for a couple of hours. Once chilled, coarsely grate the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Then take a small, heavy based frying pan and melt half the butter. Once it is bubbling add the potato mixture and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes stirring to ensure that all the potato is coated in butter. Then form into a cake and allow it to cook for a further couple of minutes, gently shaking the pan from time to time to ensure that the potato doesn’t stick. Leave it to cook for 10 minutes over a low heat until golden brown. Then take a plate, place it on top of the pan and invert it so that the Rösti sits cooked side up on the plate. Melt the remaining butter before sliding it back into the pan. Cook for a further 10 minutes until golden brown then serve immediately.

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