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.
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…
- 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
- Put your grated potatoes into the centre of a clean tea towel and wring as much liquid out as you can.
- When you think you’re done wringing, give it one more twist.
- 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.
- Divide into two equal-sized thick patties. I used the largest sized cookie cutter I had to shape mine.
- Shallow fry in your oil over a medium-low heat for a good 7-8 minutes on each side.
- 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.
- 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.