A few years ago, I spent a lot of time in Switzerland and one of the special Swiss dishes I grew to love was Rosti. Now, to someone from the United States, Rosti looks an awful lot like Hash Browns, but the Swiss deny the similarity and lay claim to this wonderful potato dish. It's potatoes that are grated and then cooked in a frying pan that ends up forming a big potato cake. It's a bit tricky to turn over, but if it falls apart, you can push it back together and brown it some more. Now many people in Switzerland use cold cooked potatoes, but I learned to make it from a Swiss friend with raw potatoes and I like it better. I cooked it in a cast iron frying pan because it takes high heat well. The only thing that is tricky is to remove some of the starch from the grated potatoes or the Rosti can get a bit gummy. It takes a while to cook but you don't have to do anything except watch it cook and flip it once. Then slide it onto a serving plate and cut it into wedges. It's simply seasoned with just salt, but my sons like to use Aromat, a German seasoning that takes like powdered Hollandaise sauce on top. Ketchup would be allowed if you are from the US, but that makes it more like Hash Browns and I think it is perfect just the way it is - potato wedges that are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside - Yum!
4 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used High Heat Safflower)
Salt to taste
Place grated potatoes in a mesh colander and squeeze until the juice is released. Then heat a 10" cast iron skillet (or other frying pan) and add the oil. When oil is hot, put in the grated potatoes. Stir fry the potatoes for a few minutes then pat down. Cook until the bottom is very crispy and brown - about 10 to 15 minutes. Then turn over the Rosti with a spatula. Don't worry if it breaks, just turn it all and then push it back together and pat down again. Sprinkle with salt. Cook that side until the potatoes are also crispy and brown. Slide the Rosti onto a plate and cut into wedges. Rosti may take up to 30 minutes to cook so plan your other dishes accordingly.
Five Element Analysis
Potatoes belong to the Earth Element and since that's all this dish is composed of, Rosti is best served as a side dish in a meal that incorporates the other elements. Potatoes are grounding and are considered a cooling food. They strengthen the spleen and stomach and increase qi, so they are considered quite healthy for you too!