CHERYL WIXSON PHOTOS

Go Swiss and treat family to rösti potatoes



Rösti (RAW-stee) Potatoes are a classic fried-potato preparation from the German-speaking region of Switzerland. Originally a breakfast dish commonly eaten by farmers, this savory potato pancake has many creative adaptations. In the Swiss mountains, rösti usually comes with a fried egg, bacon or speck (cured pork belly) and or cheese. At a Swiss restaurant, rösti is often served with sliced veal in a cream sauce.

At home, young folks most often eat rösti plain with ketchup. I’ve enjoyed it for supper with a mushroom cream sauce and wilted greens, or for lunch, with a side salad and applesauce. The beauty of this comfort food is that it can incorporate and be enjoyed with anything that goes well with potatoes.

Many recipes call for parboiling the potatoes, allowing them to cool and then grating them. I’ve decided to skip this step. To peel or not to peel is a personal choice. We don’t mind the skins in our pancake, but purists may prefer a pancake without the brown flecks. Grating unpeeled potatoes can be messy, and a food processor comes in wicked handy.

Once grated, season your potatoes with salt and pepper, and toss them in a large bowl. Add some chopped pepper, onion or freshly chopped herbs. This is where the chef’s creativity and family preferences rule.

The grated potatoes are then packed in a cast iron skillet or roasting pan. You can cook them on a stovetop and flip them, or roast them in a hot oven. Traditionally, rösti potatoes are just the pancake. By stuffing the middle with cheese and smoked meat, this becomes a delicious casserole that can be prepared in advance. My high school culinary students recently served Rösti Potatoes to 150 folks as part of a festive holiday meal.

Imagine hiking up a majestic mountain trail, enjoying the snow softly falling and clinging to the branches of pointed firs. Rounding a corner, you spy a curly wisp of smoke rising from an A-framed chalet. Stepping inside, you’re greeted with a rush of warm air and the ambrosial fragrance of hot food.

Savoring a crisp and golden plate of rösti potatoes is a heady and intoxicating experience, an experience that should be shared. This holiday season I encourage you to share the joy of comfort food and serve up Rösti Maine Potatoes.

Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments ay [email protected].

 

Rösti Maine Potatoes

Makes 6 servings

 

3 lbs. potatoes

¼ cup chopped onion or scallions

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

Sea salt and fresh pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil or butter

3 oz. chopped smoked turkey or ham (about 2/3 cup)

½ cup grated Cheddar or Swiss cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 10-inch-deep pie plate or cast iron skillet evenly with a thin layer of olive oil or butter.

Scrub the potatoes, and peel them if desired. Grate the potatoes using a hand grater or food processor into a large bowl. Add the chopped onions or scallions and chopped sweet bell pepper. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.

Spread about half the potatoes in the bottom of the greased pan. Sprinkle the cheese and smoked meat evenly over the top. Add the remaining potatoes, pressing them firmly into the pan. Brush some olive oil or butter over the top. Bake until the underside is golden and the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

To serve, loosen the edges of the rösti with a thin knife or spatula. Shake the pan to be sure the cake is free, then invert onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

Nutritional analysis per serving: 190 calories, 7 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fat (0 grams trans fat), 398 mg. sodium, 2.5 grams fiber.

Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or www.cherylwixsonskitchen.com.
Cheryl Wixson

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