Rӧsti (Potato Cakes) (vegan, depending on the trimmings)
A favourite lunch for hungry youngsters – either half-way down a ski slope, if you’re lucky enough to get to Switzerland at half term (we can dream?) or more prosaically, at home in your own kitchen. Rӧsti are very versatile, nearly as much so as pancakes, and are available as light, substantial, sweet or savoury options. They are also cost effective, crunchy and friendly to eat, so what’s not to like? Serve with a fried egg, some crispy bacon, left over cold meat, apple puree and cinnamon sugar – whatever takes your fancy.
The only real downside is that you have to cook them in very hot fat, so small or even medium sized children won’t be able to make them for themselves. This also means you have to cook them in batches, unless you have an industrial sized fryer. I think batch cooking for school holiday lunch time is quite a practical idea. You can get the whole squabbling lot of children in the kitchen waiting eagerly for their meal and you can check on their homework progress/music practice/time on the Playstation/mood/nits/whatever as you cook and serve.
There’s quite a bit of grating needed if you’ve got a gang of kids to feed, so either get them involved too, or use a machine.
Serves 4 Timings 30 minutes
Peel the potatoes and drop them into cold water. Grate them into a bowl. And it doesn’t matter if they go brown. Add 2 teaspoons of fine salt (although I bow to no-one in my adoration of Maldon Sea Salt flakes, fine salt is better here, as you want to get it all over the potato surface) and mix with your hands.
Leave for 5 minutes and then squeeze the water out of the potatoes. I find the best way to do this is to scoop them all into a tea towel and squeeze this over the sink. You do need to be quite firm about this, as if you leave too much water in the potato, the rӧsti will be mushy and not crisp.
Prepare whatever accompaniment you are having with the rӧsti, unless it’s fried eggs which you will want to do at the last minute. Warm up your oven unless you are serving in batches.
In a large pan, heat a generous level of oil until quite hot – at least 1cm deep. Drop a small handful of potato into the oil – I can get about 4 of these into my largest frying pan. Squash the potato down with a spatula to level it out and fry for several minutes - they will sizzle vigorously. Flip over with the spatula and fry on the other side for a few minutes – about 5-6 minutes altogether.
Drain on kitchen paper and best to serve straightaway, although you can keep them warm in a hot oven on a metal tray for a few minutes if you want to serve everyone together and give you time to cook the second batch. You will need to keep an eye on the level of oil in the pan and top up if needed – if you cook them in too little oil you will get scorched potato rather than deep fried, which is less appealing.
Channel your inner ski-enthusiast, and enjoy!
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.