Friday, February 15, 2008



This is an adaptation of the easy and fool-proof recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It's a great side for a big breakfast or for dinner. A couple of notes: The key to success for this dish is dry potato shreds. The step of wringing them dry through a cloth is essential. I hardly ever peel potatoes. I think the skin adds flavor, and there are nutrients in potato skin I prefer to give to myself rather than to algae blooms or compost. Yukon Gold potatoes seem to have the most flavor of what's generally available in grocery stores, and their starch content works for this dish. The butter adds a golden color but is not necessary if you are watching cholesterol.

Equipment to have ready: large bowl, clean, damp tea towel, 2 large round platters, nonstick skillet.

1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, coarsely shredded on a box grater
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. onion powder
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)

Over medium-high heat in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter.

Combine cornstarch, salt and onion powder in small bowl.

While oil and butter heat, shred potatoes into large bowl, add cold water to cover to keep potatoes from turning brown.

Pour potatoes into a strainer, dry bowl with paper towel, then keep bowl nearby. Remove potatoes from strainer a couple of handfuls at a time to a dampened tea towel. Wrap towel tightly around potatoes and wring excess water from potatoes. As potatoes are dried, return them to cleaned bowl. When all potatoes have been thoroughly wrung out, sprinkle cornstarch mixture evenly over them and toss lightly with fingers to mix.

Pour potaotes all at once into hot oil in skillet and cover. Keep heat at medium-high, and cook without touching for 6 minutes. Remove cover, push potatoes down firmly with spatula to make sure all surfaces are in touch with hot skillet, and cook uncovered an additional 6 minutes. Shake pan once or twice to make sure potatoes slide easily on nonstick surface.

Remove skillet from heat and slide potatoes cooked-side down onto a large, round platter. Take another platter, place concave side down over potatoes, and flip. Remove top platter to reveal potatoes cooked side up, slide uncooked side of potatoes onto skillet and return skillet to medium-high heat. Cook an additional 7 minutes, remove from heat, and serve.


Anonymous said... i'm hungry.....sounds like you guys had a blast! greg mpls

Ralph said...

Hey, Greg! Yep, like I said to Michele, well worth the bad stuff.

Now clean up your plate!

Anonymous said...

OK I'm hooked. Love to cook so will let you know how I do Monday. Just read your bio and can't believe we were probably neighbors. The first house Annie and I bought was the first house in from Lee Hwy on N Danville, in Arlington, VA. We lived in northern VA 15 years or more, both our kids born at Columbia Hospital for Women. What a surprise to see you live right around the bend. Click on Hecate on my blog next time you visit, she's a really cool person and lives there close to Washington & Lee High School. Thanks for the recipe Ralph.

Ralph said...

You know, Z&M, we had a little exchange a while back, I think via comments on Kat's page, where we compared memories of Arlington. I was able to bring you up to date on some things--I remember you talked about going fishing or skipping stones or something on the "Rosslyn waterfront," which no longer exists....I don't remember how it came up now.

Let me know how the potatoes come out. And check other Fridays and every Friday for a new recipe!