Hash Brown potatoes
I guess I've always made Rostis, then. Who knew the lowly "hash brown" could be controversial. I dump the raw shredded potatoes onto a double layer of paper towel, dab to pick up the moisture, then move them into a heated skillet. And, yes, some shreds stick to the towel and have to be encouraged to jump into the pan. Six minutes per side, with the lid on, over medium heat. If I'm making a large batch in a 10-inch skillet, I use a second skillet on top for the flip rather than risk losing the crispy goodness. The dishwasher gets an extra work-out.
Guess what I've been calling "hash browns" are just darn good fried potatoes. I dice RAW potatoes, carrots, onions, bell pepper (if I have one) SMALL.. Maybe 1/4" cubes. Generous spoonful of bacon grease in HOT cast iron skillet and then in go all the veggies. I don't mess with them much cuz I want searioous brown on everything. They don't become a solid thing that can be flipped... but an over-easy egg with a really runny yolk makes a nice topping... and of course generous amount of hot sauce.
What are "hash browns". I'm a West Coast person, and HB's are always, always like this:
-- pre-cooked potatoes, peeled and shredded
-- patted out into a hot, well-oiled frying pan or grill
-- fried until brown and crispy on one side, turned and browned on the other side.
They are never raw. They are never sliced or diced. There are other names for potatoes cooked those ways.
Your question sent me on a search for the definition of "hash browns" -
Definition of HASH BROWNS :
(Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
: "boiled potatoes that have been diced, mixed with chopped onions and shortening, and fried usually until they form a browned cake —called also hash brown potatoes, hashed brown potatoes, hashed browns "
World English Dictionary (Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition)
— pl n
diced boiled potatoes mixed with chopped onion, shaped and fried until brown "
["Hash browns” (also called “hashed browns,” “hash brown potatoes” and “hashed brown potatoes") are a popular breakfast dish, served today at fast food restaurants almost everywhere. The term “hashed brown potatoes” was used by food author Maria Parloa (1843-1909) in 1888, “hash brown potatoes” is cited from 1895, “hash browns” is cited from 1911 (part of lunch counter slang), and “hashed browns” is cited from 1920. Hashed brown potatoes was a popular breakfast dish in New York City in the 1890s and was served in the finest hotels.
Hash brown potatoes are diced, mixed with shortening and chopped onions, and then fried to form a browned potato cake. ]
The search for a definition led me to this interesting cookbook by Maria Parloa (1843–1909)
(unfortunately not the reference containing "hashed brown potatoes")
Here comes the debate! I did some looking and found all sorts of definitions for hash browns.
I'll stick to what I know: Hash browns are made from raw, shredded potato fried in a cake form, and fried potatoes (some call them home fries) are raw, cubed, loosely fried potatoes.
Both can be made from pre-cooked potatoes, but the end product will be inferior.
I do them from raw shreds myself and call them hash browns.
Different forms/variations of the dish are lumped under the same name.
The earlier references are to the pre-cooked version. I am trying to track down the original credited usage by Maria Parloa to see what version she referred to as "hashed brown(ed) potatoes"
EDIT: This may be the reference
(from the book: Miss Parloa's young housekeeper; designed especially to aid beginners. By Maria Parloa. (Boston, Estes and Lauriat, 1894))
She list in the ingredients for "Hashed" potatoes " 1 pint of sliced cold boiled potatoes"
There is a Swiss version called Rostis that uses grated raw potatoes. They are usually fried in cakes large or small about 1/2 or so thick. I grew up thinking these were hash browns and, for the most part, are very similar to what is served at Waffle House and those are called Hash Browns.
Among my Swiss relatives, and what I've read in Swiss recipe sources, rosti are done thusly:
-- boil some all-purpose (NOT baking) potatoes until 3/4 done
-- let them set overnight or thereabouts
-- peel and shred them
-- pan fry until brown and crispy on top and bottom
I suppose you could fancy them up with onions, cheese or whatever, but I've never seen that done. Bacon fat is used for the frying if you have some handy.
When raw potatoes are shredded and fried, we call them "potato pancakes" and top with applesauce.
Shred raw potatoes in a food processor. Use russetts. Squeeze out the moisture either in your hands, in a clean dish towel, or in a potato ricer. Mix in some thinly sliced sweet onion, if desired.
Preheat an iron skillet. Add butter. Distribute the potatoes in an even layer, keeping them about an inch away from the sides of the pan. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt.
Leave them alone until well-browned, peeking under to check. When ready to turn, flip the patty out onto a plate, melt more butter in the skillet, and slide the patty back into the pan with the uncooked side down.
Cook until brown and crisp. Serve quickly!
I am not including time and temperature because pans and stoves vary too much. You need to play with it until you get the right speed of browning while paying attention to getting the potatoes done nicely inside.
I am not a fan of precooking the potatoes. It causes them to have a mushy/grainy texture that I don't care for. They're also harder to turn, stick to the skillet more easily, and are harder to keep together.
EDIT: Hand-grated potatoes don't work as well as processor-grated ones. The hand grater seems to chew them up more.
Rinsing isn't really going to do the trick, you should parboil the potatoes first then shred or chop them. If the potatoes are too big, chop them into large chunks before boiling.
A simple cheese sauce would be to melt it into some cream over a double boiler, along with some mustard powder. Grate the cheese yourself, don't buy the ones pre-shredded because they put extra ingredients on them to keep the shreds from sticking together.
After much trial and error this is the method I use.
Grate russets into salad spinner, rinse and spin a few times.
Heat nonstick pan and a little butter or oil to med.
Spread out potatoes and cover. Cook 10 min and flip. Lower heat to med low, cover and cook another 7 mins.
I tried using a potato ricer to get out the water (someone suggests using one in another thread) but the salad spinner works better IMO.