Don’t expect leftovers when you serve this Swiss-style rösti for your next brunch or weeknight supper. It delivers an undeniable wow factor in the form of a skillet-sized golden crisp potato pancake.
It’s no surprise that many cuisines around the world, from Persian to Polish, lay claim to some form of potato pancake. After all, tender potatoes fried until crisp isn’t exactly a hard sell.
Among them are the Swiss, whose rösti ranks up there with fondue and raclette as a national dish. This spin on a classic rösti offers that same pleasing potato magic, only in a big-batch format meant to be shared. Add a smattering of fixings on the side for guests to pick from and let the fun begin.
What is Rösti?
It’s probably safe to say that rösti is to the Swiss table what hash browns are to the American diner. They’re made by grating raw or cooked potatoes and pan frying them in butter or another fat. Rösti are typically small, thick pancakes. Salt and pepper are standard seasonings, but onion, bacon, apple, and cheese sometimes enter the mix.
The Best Potatoes for Rösti
My preference is Yukon Gold potatoes. They’re a thin skinned, slightly starchy variety that crisps up nicely. The potato skin easily sloughs off when grated, which means you don’t have to peel the potatoes in advance.
If you can’t find Yukon Golds, use Russet potatoes instead. Boil them whole as you would the Yukons, knowing they are larger, so will take longer to cook. I’d also suggest pulling the peel off the Russets when cool enough to handle, but before you put them in the fridge.
Tips to Avoid Stuck-on Rösti
Really, this is a simple recipe with few ingredients. The only challenge is when it comes time to flip it. The good news is that rösti is very forgiving, so if you mess up, you can easily patch it back together. Here are a few tips to boost your confidence:
Use the right pan. A cast iron or non-stick skillet means the rösti will release with ease when it comes time to flip.
Use enough fat. The recipe doesn’t call for an excessive amount of fat and this isn’t the time to skimp or your rösti will stick to the skillet. Plus, more than half the fat in the recipe comes from heart-healthy olive oil.
Find the right plate. You will lay a plate on top of the rösti to flip it. You want it neither too small —the rösti won’t hold together—nor too big, the plate won’t nestle inside the edge of the pan.
Phone a friend. Particularly if using a cast iron skillet, which is heavy, it might be helpful to have a friend hold the plate in place so you have two hands free to maneuver the skillet.
What to Serve with Rösti
This is where the fun happens! The rösti is the main event, while a variety of tasty fixings play a supporting role. It’s helpful to think of hitting a few different categories to round out the flavors, such as:
- Something smoky: ham, prosciutto, smoked salmon, bacon, or sausage
- Something creamy: soft-cooked eggs, crème fraîche, sour cream, avocado, applesauce, or cheese
- Something herby: minced fresh chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, or mint
- Something tangy/briny: sauerkraut, pickled onions, lemon wedges, or pickled jalapeños
- Something spicy: Sriracha, Mexican hot sauce, kimchi, or chili crisp
- A salad: Beyond the little dishes to go with the rösti, I like to serve a bright salad on the side. A crunchy shaved vegetable salad like this one is my go-to. I’m also smitten with this crisp, colorful combo. Alternatively, arrange seasonal fresh fruit on a pretty platter, such as grapes, sliced melon, berries, ripe pears, or tangerines.
Delicious Fixing Combos
You can top your rösti with as many fixings as you’d like, and it’s perfectly delicious on its own. Below I’ve mapped out a few combinations that pair deliciously with a wedge of rösti:
- smoked salmon + crème fraîche + pickled beet/cabbage
- thinly sliced ham + cornichons + grated Gruyere cheese
- poached eggs + sliced avocado + crumbled bacon
- bratwurst + sauerkraut + applesauce
- crumbled feta + pickled onions + fresh dill
- chicken apple breakfast sausages + applesauce + sour cream
- fried eggs + hot sauce + cilantro + mashed avocado
Smart Ways to Plan Ahead
When friends come to eat, it’s always nice to have some of the prepping and cooking done ahead of time. At the very least, you can boil and refrigerate the potatoes up to a day ahead. This dish lends itself to plenty of other make-ahead options, including:
- You can have your potatoes cooked, chilled, grated, and seasoned before guests arrive. That way, all you have to do is cook the rösti before serving. Plus, you’ll have friends on hand to help!
- Set out your fixings. Gather, plate, and set your sides on the table in advance. Keep any perishables in the fridge until an hour or so before serving time.
- Prep a salad. Get your salad and dressing done in advance. All you have to do before serving is toss it together.
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- Parfait with Maple Yogurt, Citrus and Pomegranate
Cook the potatoes:
In a medium saucepan, add the potatoes and cover by 1/2 inch with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until you can slide a paring knife into the center with some resistance, but no crunchiness. This will take about 9 minutes from when the water begins to boil; the cook time depend on the size of the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes into a colander set in the sink, place them in a large bowl, and refrigerate until cool enough to handle. You can speed this up by chilling in the freezer, but keep a close watch, since you don’t want them to freeze. You can do this step a day ahead.
Grate the potatoes:
Grate the potatoes right into the bowl using the large holes of a box grater. The peel will slough off as you go and can be discarded. Gently toss with salt and black pepper.
Cook the rösti:
Heat a 10-inch cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. If you don’t have a skillet of this size, don’t worry. Your rösti will either be a little bigger or a little smaller. That’s okay!
Add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the butter melts and the fat spatters vigorously when you flick water into the pan, it’s ready.
Use your hands to evenly distribute the potatoes across the surface of the skillet. Use the back of a spatula to press the potatoes down firmly. Nudge the edges inward so it’s just a touch away from the side of the skillet. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil around the circumference of the rösti. These steps will help the rösti hold together and release from the skillet when flipped.
Brown the rösti until the bottom is golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Use the spatula to gently take a peek underneath to see if it’s nice and brown. Press the rosti firmly across the top and around the edges again. It should look like a large, tidy disk.
Flip the rösti:
Find a plate that is about the size of the rösti. Rub a little olive oil to coat the surface of the plate and lay it face down on top of the rösti. Hold the plate in place as you lift and flip the skillet, inverting the rösti onto the plate.
Return the skillet to the stove still over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil. When it’s melted and hot, carefully slide the rösti back into the skillet. Press it back into place with the spatula if needed. Continue to cook until golden brown on the second side, another 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Scatter the scallions over the top.
To serve, set the skillet on the table with the fixings on the side. Cut the rösti into wedges and use a spatula to transfer it onto serving plates. Invite each diner to pick and choose their favorite fixings to top their rösti.
Leftovers can be refrigerated, wrapped in foil or stashed in a storage container, for 1 or 2 days. Reheat it in a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat until warm and crispy.
To freeze, wrap the rösti in foil and then place it in a freezer bag for up to 1 month. To reheat, unwrap the frozen rösti, set it on a sheet pan, and put it straight into a 400°F oven until hot and crispy, about 15 minutes.
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