Hash browns are the cornerstone of any good diner across this country. They're perfectly crispy on the outside and wonderfully tender on the inside. How does the line cook produce such alchemy? Magic, obviously. Also, dried potatoes.
Elise Bauer breaks the process down (with a funny story about her parents arguing about hash browns) and pictures over at Simply Recipes. The trick to perfectly cooked homemade hash browns: a potato ricer! I've always used mine to wring the water out of defrosted spinach, but this is even better.
Working with purple potatoes can be a bit messy. They have purple juice. And if you're not careful when pressing it out of the little grated suckers, it will get everywhere and stain everything. Wear a dark purple shirt when making these.
Elise's recipe calls for one large frisbee-disc size hash brown, but I prefer mine in smaller single-serving size petite discs. One medium potato yields about two to three 3-inch hash browns. 3 hash browns are about how much fried food my body can handle before it goes on strike. Your mileage may vary.
Grapes added as a digestive aid. Rah-rah raw fruit!
1 lb purple potatoes
3 tablespoons pomace oil
Many thanks to Elise for demystifying the ancient diner art of perfectly cooked hash browns! These are a colorful addition to any breakfast, and taste just as good as—if not "better" than—regular russet potatoes.
1. Grate the potatoes using the large holes on your grater.
2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat.
3. While the pan is heating, squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the grated potatoes using a potato ricer. (If you don't have a ricer, use paper towels to squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the grated potatoes.) Wear dark clothing and do this over your sink. Purple potato juice is unforgiving.
4. Form the now-dry grated potatoes into small mounds. Press to flatten them out so they are about 3 inches long and a half-inch thick. Make sure they're about the same thickness all the way around for even cooking.
5. Working in batches, wait for the oil to start shimmering, but not smoking. Add the flattened potato discs, spreading them out along the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the potatoes. After a few minutes, lift up one edge of the potatoes and see how done they are. If they have fried to a golden brown they are ready to flip. Continue to cook until they are golden brown on the bottom.
6. Repeat, adding oil as necessary to the pan, until all the discs are cooked through. Enjoy.