The Swiss often like to see precision in things. Trains run on time, watches work to the second and potatoes are formed into neat circle shapes. Rösti potatoes, artfully formed into buttery browned disks, are known as the national food of Switzerland.
Swiss food deserves more praise and recognition. Rösti (pronounced ruh-shtee) potatoes are as practical as they are delicious. Every day kitchen staples are the backbone of traditional Swiss cuisine like Rösti potatoes.
Other than flipping the oversized potato pancake form out of the skillet, Rösti potatoes are simple to make. The proper potato flipping technique, which is a bit of an acrobatic move is the key to Rösti potato success. As any seasoned cook knows, timing and the proper technique make all the difference.
The preparation for this humble dish starts the day before cooking so plan ahead to ensure success. The potatoes must be boiled, drained and set aside to cool and rest. Some Rösti enthusiasts claim the potatoes must never be refrigerated, they say it is best to let the boiled potatoes set out at room temperature overnight.
My boiled potatoes fell prey to the cooling of the refrigerator, but emerged from the experience unscathed. Even potatoes that have been refrigerated before they are shredded, take on a new Heavenly dimension when they are seared to a crisp in a generous pool of butter.
Just a few inexpensive ingredients, including potatoes, butter, cheese and bacon put together in the right way are sure to impress. A generous filling of good stout cheese (Swiss, Gruyere or Muenster) and crispy fried bacon is a bonus. While optional, the cheese and bacon make Rösti potatoes an even heartier dish that can stand on its own.
Let’s face it, meat and potatoes can become a dull meal routine. Rösti potatoes combine the best of both worlds. The most die-hard meat-and-potatoes fan will enjoy a hefty slice of steaming just out of the frying pan, Rösti potatoes. Just be sure to serve some sausage on the side. A little sauerkraut thrown-in makes for a genuine Old World experience.
Say good bye to plain old hash browns. Rösti potatoes upstage their close cousins, hash browns both in symmetry and execution. In Switzerland and beyond, Rösti potatoes reign supreme.
This fun recipe comes from Switzerland and makes a versatile, hearty, side dish.
½ cup real butter
2 ½ pounds of quality potatoes (Yukon Gold)
1 cup stout cheese (Swiss, Gruyere or Muenster), grated
8 strips of bacon, fried and drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Clean and scrub potatoes. Boil in salted water in a large pot until barely done. Do not overcook. Drain potatoes and refrigerate until completely cooled; overnight is best.
Shred cooled potatoes. Use a hand-held grater, or if available, a food processor works much faster. Set shredded potatoes aside.
Melt ¼ cup butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. (Make sure you have a lid for the skillet or a plate big enough to fit on top of the skillet to serve as a lid.) Place half of the shredded potatoes in the skillet, press down slightly with a rubber scrapper and cook about 10 minutes or until the edges are turning brown.
Layer fried bacon and Swiss cheese over potatoes but keep toppings from going too close to the very edge. Add the remaining half of shredded potatoes on top. Press down the edges of the potatoes with a rubber scrapper.
Place a plate on top of the skillet. Carefully hold down the plate while flipping the skillet over. Set the plate of potatoes aside.
Place the skillet back on medium heat and melt the remaining butter. Carefully slide the potatoes back in the skillet.
Cook about 10 minutes or until the edges are turning brown. Carefully place plate back on top of skillet, hold the plate down and flip the skillet upside down to place the finished Rösti on the plate. Serve hot.