Mmmmm…potatoes. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like well prepared shredded hash brown potatoes. You may say you don’t, but please, quit lying to yourself. Crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, I don’t give a damn if you are on a low carb, Paleo, or other restrictive diet, you know you are going to try and eat some off my plate when you think I am not looking! I am looking, I just choose to allow you to sneak some 🙂
Many of you swear that the best hash browns always come seem to come from a dingy diner. In general I don’t disagree, but after a near fatal (okay, I am exaggerating a little) meal at a popular dive breakfast chain in Atlanta (if you have lived in the South, yes, you know you have been there at least once in a drunken stupor) I decided to skip the side of salmonella that came with the hash browns and started making my own. And for clarity, when I say homemade, I am not meaning pre-packaged loose refrigerated or frozen or patty hash browns (basically giant tater-tots) that have been “cooked at home”. I am talking about transforming a raw potato into something glorious.
I know many people that try to make homemade shredded hash browns but they never seem to turn out quite like the diners’. When I first started making shredded hash browns (and those friends, including my mom, who have made me shredded hash brown potatoes), they tended to have a weird gooey(ish)/soft texture, kind of limp and sad. Yes, the breakfast equivalent to erectile dysfunction. However, I didn’t give up, I was on a mission to get it right. After some trial and error, and gathering information about the “science” behind potatoes (rinsing/soaking the starch away), I came up with a winning technique that delivers consistently awesome results. My husband loves them and so does my picky daughter (who hates to eat breakfast but will never pass up huge plate of these). Don’t take my word for it (or theirs) try it yourself and be prepared to have your friends and family bow down to your culinary greatness. Well, maybe not, but they will be super happy.
Serving: Makes enough for 1 real-person. You can double the recipe to make it for 2-people. You can triple (etc.) for more people, but make separate potato rounds (i.e., no more than 2-person size otherwise it’s harder to get crispy and steams them too much). Start prepping these before you make the rest of your breakfast!
2 cups (heaping or about 12-ounces) – peeled (or not) russet potatoes, shredded to make long strands (note: if you have a food processor, it makes this a cinch and actually produces better results since the cell walls of the potato are damaged less because of a processors’ preciseness and speed! If your food processor allows it, put the potatoes in sideways. it produces beautiful long strands. You can use a manual shredded or mandolin too. After you shred them, immediately put them in cold water. Swish them around the water for a minute to remove the starch and to stop the interaction between the enzymes and oxygen (it is what makes them soggy and start to turn pink/dark). Drain the water out and add more cold water to completely cover them. Let them sit in the clean, cold water for 10 minutes before you use them <— this process is key!
3 tablespoons – olive or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
** If you want caramelized onions, cheese, bacon, or chopped bell peppers with these, PLEASE cook those separately and just add them as a topping after you make these. Don’t add them to the raw shredded potatoes. It changes the texture and will make them soggy – trust me.
*** Russet potatoes work best. Avoid any waxy type potatoes (such as red) they don’t work as well.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. If you have a salad spinner, spin the water out of the potatoes. If you don’t, then take a large kitchen towel and pat the potatoes dry (no need to squeeze the potatoes dry). Immediately put them into the skillet and gently use your spatula to form into a circle about 1-inch thick (don’t press down on the potatoes, just coax them into a circle). Once the potatoes are in a circle, LEAVE THEM ALONE for about 10 minutes (set a timer). Season with salt and pepper.
After 10 minutes, spray the top of the potatoes with cooking spray and then place a plate on top of the potatoes, and while holding the plate in place with one hand, use the other to flip the pan over, add remaining oil, and then slide the potatoes back into the pan. Season again with salt and pepper. LEAVE THEM ALONE for about 10 minutes (set a timer). After the timer goes off, flip them again one more time to re-crisp (about 1-2 minutes). Then serve!
If you want to make enough for 2-people, you can make a larger hash brown (again 10 minutes on each side). Just make sure that you don’t make it thicker than 1-inch.