This basic recipe can be embellished to suit your tastes by adding cooked crumbled bacon, minced onions or other ingredients of your choosing to the grated potatoes before they are placed in the pan.
- 3 medium potatoes such as russet or Kennebec (about 1 3/4
lb./875 g total)
- 1 Tbs. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) clarified butter, melted
- Snipped fresh chives for garnish
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
Peel the potatoes, then quickly grate them using the coarse holes of a grater, holding the potatoes vertically and using long strokes to keep the potato shreds as long as possible. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the salt and set aside for 5 minutes while the potato shreds wilt and release some of their liquid. Using your hands, squeeze the potatoes to release any remaining moisture, then pour off as much of the liquid as possible. Repeat the squeezing and pouring a few times; you want the potatoes to be quite dry.
Add 2 Tbs. of the clarified butter to the bowl with the potatoes and toss to evenly coat. Heat an 8-inch (20-cm) fry pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 Tbs. of the clarified butter to the pan. When the butter just begins to smoke, start placing the grated potatoes in the pan. Use a flat spatula to compact the potatoes tightly in the pan and flatten them into an even layer about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. When the rösti begins to brown around the edges, use the spatula to gently lift the edge of the potatoes and take a peek at the bottom. Adjust the heat up or down as necessary so that the potatoes brown but do not scorch or stick to the pan.
When the bottom layer is a rich, golden brown, use a wide spatula to quickly but carefully turn the rösti over. Pour the remaining 3 Tbs. clarified butter around the edges of the rösti and continue to cook until the second side begins to brown.
Transfer the rösti to the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and check to see that the bottom is well browned and crisp. Test for tenderness, too, by piercing the rösti with the tip of a paring knife; the potatoes should offer no resistance other than the crust. If the top or the bottom isn’t quite crisp the potatoes may be placed back on the stove over medium heat until crisp; watch carefully to avoid burning the potatoes.
Remove the pan from the heat and loosen the edges of the rösti from the pan with a spatula. Tilt the pan and coax the rösti out of the pan and onto a serving dish or cutting board. As soon as the rösti is cool enough to handle, sprinkle with chives and use a serrated knife to cut it into wedges. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Recipe by Thomas Keller, Chef/Owner, The French Laundry