Rösti – A reward for your lockdown

Lockdown has been good for some, less so for many and excruciatingly dull for almost everyone. I know how I dealt with the first six weeks – by filling myself full of pasta, tinned rice pudding and tuna bake. It all felt so very 1970s…

With the longer days and the relaxing of lockdown rules, I started to exercise more, eat less and generally get back into a routine of fitness and fine food. That said, there are times still, when all I want to do is carb-load.

I’m in a frame of mind where I feel I should put in some effort to be rewarded for my incoming carbs, and this dish requires some serious arm strength… so you can fill your belly guilt-free.

You need a serious amount of elbow grease to get the potato ready for your rösti

I first had rösti (potato cakes) way back in 1996. I was briefly a tour guide with EF and I returned to Paris via Zurich. I was at the main station with a few hours to kill before my train, so took a seat at the rösti bar and ordered mine with smoked ham and a fried egg. It was so deeply satisfying that I am still making it decades on and I still get that same, full-belly satisfaction I had back then.

Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘The Best of Soul Train’ by Soul Train (it’s a compilation of the best from the TV programme…

Ingredients

  • 1 Extra large potato (or two medium), grated
  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of sage (or rosemary or thyme), chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • A seriously strong grip
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Method

  1. Put your grated potatoes into the centre of a clean tea towel and wring as much liquid out as you can.
  2. When you think you’re done wringing, give it one more twist.
  3. Once you’ve given yourself a dead arm with all the wringing, mix the potatoes, onion, herbs and salt and pepper in a bowl until well combined. Add a good whack of salt, this dish can take it.
  4. Divide into two equal-sized thick patties. I used the largest sized cookie cutter I had to shape mine.
  5. Shallow fry in your oil over a medium-low heat for a good 7-8 minutes on each side.
  6. Raise the heat a little to medium, and fry for a further 5 mins each side. You want the rösti to be crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle.
  7. Remove from the pain and drain on some kitchen paper while you fry your egg and/or bacon in the pan in which you’ve just cooked your rösti.

If you’re going to carb-load, do it style and polish this off with a large glass of Swiss white. If you can find one, a Clos de Chillon would be fab – it really cuts through the salty stickiness of this dish.

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