When you flip the potatoes, you make wells in them to accommodate eggs and then finish the whole thing off in the oven. Sounded great. So when I had company, I followed the recipe and it looked like this.
Trust me, the picture in the magazine looked a whole lot better! I don't know if it tasted better. The potatoes were mushy. We all agreed that there's something special about hash browns. That crispy exterior can't be beat, and the potatoes in this dish didn't quite make it. We all loved the traditional concept of a soft yolk over crispy hash browns, though.
If you're like me, there are some dishes that just don't turn out well for you. Hash browns are one of those dishes for me. I've never quite managed great hash browns. So I went on an internet search of hash brown recipes to find out what I was doing wrong. Every time, they bombed.
And then I happened to run across
a recipe posted by someone named Elise. It's very cute. Her father's hash browns are always better than her mother's. Why? Because he presses out the liquid with a potato ricer!
I was itching to try it. But where was the potato ricer? It's not one of my favorite kitchen items. Where had I put it? Ah, my mother would surely know where hers was. Apparently -- like mother, like daughter. Two households and no one could find a potato ricer. I tried pressing out the liquid like Elise's mother does, between paper towels. No go. Soggy hash browns.
So when I was baking Christmas cookies, I reached for cookie cutters and, by golly, there was the potato ricer. You know what I did next!
I shredded two red skinned potatoes (you're supposed to use russet), crammed the potatoes in the ricer and pressed. This is what came out -- nearly 1/4 cup of liquid!
I used my favorite frying pan with a generous amount of olive oil and heated it just below the middle temp until a drop of water sizzled in the pan. In went the potatoes. I did not press them flat. The hardest part was waiting and resisting the temptation to peek underneath or hurry them along. When the bottom seemed to be set and golden brown, I slid a metal spatula underneath and expected them to stick. They didn't! They turned beautifully! A little salt and the result was perfect hash browns. Our only complaint was that there weren't enough!
Perfect Hash Browns
with thanks to Elise and her father!
peeled russet potatoes
salt and pepper
Shred the raw potatoes. Insert in potato ricer and press out liquid. Heat frying pan just below medium heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Add potatoes and cook until the bottom is set and golden brown. Flip and cook through until the bottom is golden brown. Add salt and pepper and enjoy!
I wish you all perfect hash browns every time and a very happy New Year full of good friends, good times, and good food!