Rosti with baked eggs

Rosti is, essentially, a bigger and more civilised version of the humble hash brown. Its Swiss origins and associations lend it a sophistication that its American counterpart lacks, as does the fact that it is often enhanced by eggs, cheese and herbs (not burgers). It’s starchy and salty – always a pleasing combination – and requires few ingredients and little-to-no skill to make. It is, accordingly, one of my favourite potato dishes. Adding the eggs gives a bit of a protein boost that just about makes it a meal in itself. Add some salad or cooked vegetables and you’re good to go!

Ingredients (serves 2)

Potatoes (x3)
Onion (half)
Eggs (x2)
Butter
Olive oil
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Rosemary (to taste)

Specialist equipment

A skillet or cast-iron pan

Method

1. Prepare the potatoes (can be done well in advance…): Peel the potatoes and add them to a pan of boiling water. Keep them whole, don’t chop them up. Parboil them for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size). ‘Parboil’ basically means to half-cook (or undercook) them. It’s best to err on the side of caution and under- rather than overcook them (overcooking them will make them impossible to grate). Leave them to cool down.

2. Grate the potatoes and onion: Once the potatoes have cooled down, grate them and the onion into a colander. They should look and feel like grated cheese. Push down to squeeze out any excess moisture – the drier the mixture, the better.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and season liberally with salt, pepper and rosemary, and add a few glugs of olive oil. Mix well with your hands.

3. Fry the rosti: Add some olive oil to your skillet or pan and heat it up using a medium flame. Add the rosti mixture to the pan and spread into a circle using a spatula. Cut four knobs 0f butter and add them to the outer edges of the mixture – this (apparently) helps to prevent it from sticking (although I have my doubts). Fry for about 10 minutes or so. Whilst doing so, turn on the oven and pre-heat to 200 degrees (turn on the fan setting if you have one).

Once 10 minutes is up, flip it over and fry the other side. To do this, first loosen the mixture using a spatula or fish slice. Then place an inverted plate over the top of the skillet, hold the two tightly together (try not to burn your fingers…), and flip. The rosti should now be sitting on the plate, cooked side on top. Add some more oil to the pan and slide the rosti back in – the cooked side should now be on top, the uncooked side on bottom. Fry for another 10 minutes or so.

4. Bake the rosti: Once 10 minutes is up, turn off the heat and crack two eggs on top of the rosti. Place the pan into the pre-heated oven and bake for 10 minutes or so, until the eggs are cooked.

5. Serve: Remove the skillet from the oven (carefully – it will be searingly hot!) and place on a heat-proof mat on the table. Serve from the pan. Eat and enjoy!

See also:
The Guardian’s view on “How to cook the perfect rosti”

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