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This recipe is listed in the "Vegetarian" (Starch), "Potatoes & Starchy Roots" (Vegetarian), and "European: Western" (French: Alsace-Loraine) sections of the YaleCooks recipe collection.

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"Latke" Inspired Pan Fried Grated Potatoes: (French Rosti)

First added: 2012-07-16; Last edited: 2013-01-15

Rosti: Pan fried grated potatoes (notice the "browning").

Hand grated potatoes, before cooking.

Author: Stephen Chin-Bow (Yale College).

Background: I will convert this recipe to also use weights, when I buy an accurate digital balance.

If I remember I will take photos the next time I prepare "pan fried potatoes".

My dear friend Carolyn introduced me to this recipe.  When I shred the potatoes using a manual box grater I always think how a similar technique is used to prepare "latkes" (potato pancakes, which also include onion, flour, egg and are cooked in butter).

After making potatoes this way for several years I learned the French prepare potatoes in a similar way to make "French rosti".  Other people call these "hash brown" potatoes.  "Home-fried" potatoes are cooked in a similar way, but instead of using a grater the potatoes are usually cut into chunks.  If you do not have a grater simply the potate in half and then cut each half into very thin strips (when fried the strips will not stick together and will resemble thin French Fries).

The potato skin is used in this recipe for several reasons.  Some restaurants sell fried potato skins.  Peeling the skin off requires extra time.  Finally, less is wasted!

Please let me know if you have suggestions for improving this recipe!

This recipe was prepared and shared during a YaleCooks potluck dinner (2012-10-31).

Essential Supplies & Ingredients: (two "side" servings or one "generous" serving)

frying pan (a cast iron pan, with a low rim, works best)
box grater (the slicer/dicer blade or accessory for a food processor or a heavy duty stand mixer may save you a lot of time if you frequently shred a large number of potatoes); not essential, see above

• one potato (6 - 8 ounces; 210 - 275 grams)

salt, kosher or sea salt (to taste)
• black pepper (to taste)

• 2 tsp olive, canola, or vegetable oil (precision is not required so estimating is okay; about 10 ml)


Cooking Sequence: If you plan to cook meat or eggs to serve with these potatoes cook the meat first (while you are shredding the potatoes) and cook the eggs last (after the potatoes are cooked).

Shredding the Potatoes: When using a manual box grater to shred potatoes which are frequently oddly shaped you need a strategy which protects your knuckles from being cut.  Remember, your safety is important.  Scrub the potatoes, rinse, and allow excess water to drain off (potatoes which are wet are slightly slippery; be careful!).

Your initial goal is to remove all the potato skin, initially forming a skinless potato with a "rectangular box" shape.

These instructions assume your potato has a flat oval shape (with two ends, two long narrow sides, and two long wider sides).  First, grate one end of the potato.  Then grate the opposite end.  Then hold the potato using the wider sides and grate the two opposite "narrow" sides.  Then, holding the potato from the two parallel sides you just created grate the last two "wider" sides.  At this point your potato should be skinless and shaped like a rectangular box.  Continue grating the potato until it shape is closer to a cube.  Compare the following before and after images:

Two potatoes, before grating.

The same potatoes, one after having its surface "squared".

Then slowly grate the six sides until the potato is completely grated.

Repeat with the remaining potatoes.  Add a little salt and pepper to the grated potato and mix.

Frying the Potatoes: The pan is sufficiently hot if small drops of water added to the hot pan instantly sizzle and evaporate.  Add the oil to the hot frying pan (you can add less oil if there is oil from cooking the optional meat).  The oil is hot enough if a tiny amount of shredded potato added to the center of the pan sizzles.  Add the shredded potato to the pan.  For one shredded potato you want a disk about 6 - 7 inches in diameter.  You want the potato to be loose (do not press the potato to the pan).

Cook the potatoes for about five minutes (only an estimate).  At this point the potato should be "stuck" to the pan ("browning" is good, because it means the potato will have a slightly crunchy texture).  Before you flip the potato you need to release it from the pan.  Working around the edge of the potato, slowly push the spatula beneath just the outer one inch of the potato.  Then slowly push the spatula, back and forth, beneath the middle, releasing the potato from the pan.  If you have a large spatula you may be able to flip the entire potato.  Cook for an additional five minutes (or until sufficiently browned).  Cook optional eggs.  Serve and enjoy!

Serving Options: Serve with ketchup (similar to how some people eat french fries in the USA), mustard (similar to how some people eat potato knishes in the USA), or vinegar (similar to how some people eat french fries in Canada; Dani C, I still remember the Orange Julius).

Suggested Variations: Adding some onion powder will add a more complex flavor without adding complexity or increasing the cooking time.  This technique may work well with sweet potatoes.

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