Recipe: hash brown potatoes
Hey, what have you been up to lately? I’m guessing most people in the States are thinking about Thanksgiving. I’m not there yet. Nope. Finally got my ski on last week at Breckenridge and I have to say – in light of my travel schedule and the lack of decent snow this fall – it’s about time! We had some visitors over the weekend too. Shauna, Danny, and Lu were in Colorado for part of the book tour. We met up with them in Breck for lunch, but the following day they made their way to Boulder and our neck of the woods. So I’ve been playing hostess for the past few days.
first day of the season at breckenridge and we caught some nice pow
things you come across when tidying up our house
radek and danny at l’atelier in boulder
lu mimics kaweah
After a beautiful dinner at Radek Cerny’s L’Atelier in Boulder (Danny used to be Radek’s #2 chef in Denver, back in the day), they came up to spend the weekend at our house. On Saturday, we attended Shauna and Danny’s gluten-free potluck in downtown Boulder and had a great turnout of 65+ people! All of these people came and shared their amazing cooking and baking.
just look at the spread
gorgeous gluten-free pizza from the organic pizza company
shauna thanks everyone at the potluck
The best part of their visit for me was seeing Danny in his element – in his hometown (Breck), with his old restaurant bosses, loving the cold weather and drinking in that clean mountain air. He was beaming when he introduced Shauna and Lu to his old friends. Boulder was the last segment of Shauna and Danny’s Colorado book tour, so it was with sadness and gratitude that we hugged on Sunday in the golden light of the morning sun, our white breath floating up into the air as we wished them safe travel back to Washington. Sadness that we had to part, but gratitude for so many opportunities to spend time with each other this year!
colorado is delighted to have you guys any time
So I’m not much of a breakfast person, but most of our house guests ARE breakfast people. It’s actually because of house guests that I’ve forced myself to learn to make a variety of breakfast items. While that first meal of the day tends to be sweet in western cultures, Asian cultures are primarily dominated by savory dishes and *I* am a savory brekkie type, to be sure.
peeling the spuds
My absolute favorite breakfast food is hash brown potatoes. Yes, even more than bacon, which is difficult for me to type because bacon and I are good friends. My method for hash browns has evolved over the years mostly because I was doing it wrong from the start. I used to grab any old potato, but these days it’s the Yukon gold that I reach for every time. Not to mention, my hash browns always came out gooey and soggy. That’s because I hadn’t learned to squeeze all of that excess liquid (and starch) out before frying them up.
shred the potatoes
squeeze them out as much as you can
Oh! The worst offender? I fried them in a non-stick pan. Nothing pan fries properly in a non-stick pan. I’m such a fan of crispy outsides on my food that I’ve learned to love “stick” pans. Well, in this case that would be my cast iron skillet. Put enough oil down (hey, no one is calling this a low-fat food), get it nice and hot – but not too hot – and throw the potatoes on.
it’s three ingredients: potatoes, oil, and salt
on the good days, i can flip the whole shebang
Flipping the potatoes can be an upsetting experience if things fall apart or parts of your ensemble jump ship onto the range top or worse yet, the floor. It helps to have a wide spatula and a coherent lattice structure in your hash browns. That means no giant gaps or zones of thin potato coverage. I usually pack them together with a spatula right after I dump the potato into the hot pan because the tighter the weave in the bottom (which fuses together when fried), the less likely it will come apart when you flip it. Once it’s done to your liking you should serve it immediately with your other morning favorites.
a most winning trio: hash browns, eggs, and bacon
Hash Brown Potatoes
1 lb. potatoes (organic Yukon golds are my favorites)
2-4 tbsps vegetable oil
Peel and shred the potatoes. Squeeze as much liquid from the potatoes as possible (do this a small handful at a time). Discard the liquid. Pour a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and heat over medium flame. When the oil is hot (test by dropping a shred of potato on the pan – it should sizzle), add the potato shreds evenly over the skillet and press down with the back of a spatula. When the bottom begins to brown (around 5 minutes or more) sprinkle some salt over the potatoes and carefully flip the hash browns over (you can do it in sections if it’s too big to flip in one go). We want golden, not burnt potatoes, so watch the heat level and reduce the heat if it’s starting to burn. You can add more oil if needed to help the other side crisp up nicely. Sprinkle a little salt on the browned top and let cook until the bottom has a nice golden color. Serve hot. Serves 2-4 people.