Rösti = What to Eat on Election Night

Last winter we drove up to Madison, Wisconsin, with our friends Katie and Justin. Winter had us all feeling a little shack-nasty* and we thought a trip out of town might do us good. On the way home from Madison we stopped in New Glarus, a town famous for its brewery and weird alpine architecture. The brewery is fantastic, and totally worth a stop (though admittedly is more fun in the summer when you can sit outside drinking beer). And New Glarus is a charming enough place to spend a few hours. The bakery in town is pretty great and I always pick up a few pastries for the drive home. We had dinner at one of the several touristy Swiss-themed restaurants in town. It was as expected, huge portions and lots of fat, but also pretty satisfying. Among the things we ate was a giant potato rösti. As delicious as it was, about three bites in I felt defeated by the amount of fat (butter and cheese) in the dish. But I’ve been thinking about the potential.

There was a recipe for rösti in a recent issue of Saveur. It was light on the fat and heavy on the potato and sounded delicious. It tasted even better. The crisp crust of potato yields to a smooth and creamy interior. It was so delicious that sitting here writing about it has prompted me to scheme about making this for dinner tonight. It was perfect as is, but I really loved it served with some sour cream and scallions. We ate this with a big salad. It is something that I plan on making a lot of this winter.

This is a good recipe for right now, when, if you are anything like me, you’re in need of some comfort food. It is going to be a long night, friends. Eat up.

*Shack-nasty is a term I picked up from my friend Molly years ago. Synonym: cabin fever. Anyone else come across it used this way? I love it.

Rösti (from Saveur)

  • 2¼ pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large)
  • 2 tablespoons lard or unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Peel potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

Heat lard and oil in an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When lard has melted, add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and mix well, coating potatoes with fat. [NOTE: this seems physically impossible to me. I poured the melted butter/oil, and salt over the grated potatoes in bowl and mixed before transferring to a pan. How can you toss this huge amount of potatoes and oil in an 8-inch pan?! C’est impossible, Saveur!] Using a metal spatula, gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet. Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rösti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve. [optional: serve with sour cream and scallions]

*** Yes, it is a lot of salt. But potatoes need a lot of salt. You can adjust, but this seemed right to me.

***People have argued in favor of a rösti made with raw potatoes. I have tried and it is not as good. It is really worth the effort of pre-cooking the potatoes.

64 comments to “Rösti = What to Eat on Election Night”

  1. I’ve never heard the phrase “shack-nasty,” bit damn, it’s a good one! My Irish-born husband loves anything potato, so I’ll have to give this recipe a go.

  2. that looks so yummy! love your blog. xx from Portugal :)

  3. Looks tasty! But I’ll save it for another night… we’re expecting 80F+ temps tomorrow in San Francisco.

    (Look, I know. I feel bad even typing that in public.)

    I’ll probably go for something fiddly to make on election night: pan-fried dumplings? Keep my hands busy.

  4. What?! That is hot for SF! Dumplings sound good, too. I think I am hungry.

  5. Totally agree on cooking the potatoes first, makes for a far better rosti. Your looks just about perfect. So good in this freezing cold weather!

  6. this sounds like exactly what i need. can i be lazy and use my cuisinart to do the grating?

  7. Wow. This looks delicious. I’m actually going to an election night get together, and this looks easy enough so maybe I’ll test it out!

  8. omg. I need this NOW.

  9. Oooh, I’m hoping with my hope that people get out & vote and not let the crazy man in. But I voted and in Canada we got the crazy man. Maybe I’ll make this amazing-sounding roti & send my good election vibes while snacking one! My fingers are crossed!

  10. Don’t take this the wrong way but more than the rosti, you’re mention of New Glarus has me smiling. Living in Milwaukee, New Glarus has us spoiled since it’s readily available and on tap everywhere. We visited the brewery for the first time this past summer and quickly regretted not having our wedding there–the grounds are beautiful! My husband’s blood type is spotted cow. Glad you liked it as much as we did and got just as big a kick out of that Swissty Touristy town like us! Changing topics, sad I’m missing the Get Baked event–wish you would host an event on a weekend so I can head down from the cheese state to attend. I’ll bring Spotted Cow, promise!

  11. i totally salivated over that recipe when i saw it!

  12. So beautiful and so simple! I love mine smothered with sour cream!

  13. I used to have the task of prepping rosti with shredded duck confit at a restaurant I was working at last year, so naturally I loved your emphasis on just ACCEPTING the salt. Potatoes + salt = true love.

    I haven’t ate one since I worked at that place, but gosh. The sight of that fluffy, steamy goodness is pretty comforting.

  14. Definitely agree that the potato and cheese combination (while delicious) gets to be too much after just a bite or two. I can’t wait to try this.

  15. Also: does this work for leftovers at all? Or is it not worth it?

  16. Hey Harriet- The leftovers are okay, but not great. Make it when you want to eat it.

  17. Love this – looks so so delicious! :)

  18. SWEET MOTHER, that looks amazing. On it. Stat. I’m so shack-nasty.

  19. Another good side/condiment for this: applesauce!!

  20. Woke up pondering the menu for this cold, rainy, maybe icy eve. Rösti! I turned down that page in Saveur–24 Rösti. I agree, pre-cooking will add that comforting mashed potato flavor. My plan: Mix a couple of waxy yellow varieties with my russets. Use goat butter. And drop a sprinkling of finely shaved onion to bottom of pan–they’ll become nicely caramelized and caramelized onions = comfort. Then we’ll Put on our seat belts and brace for a bumpy night.

    Oh, re Leftovers. Absolutely! (Precooked spuds won’t turn gray as in latkes.) Round out wedges into patties, reheat in a dry skillet until warm and crunchy, then fry up some eggs)

  21. Shack-nasty is awesome. Period. I’ve never heard it used before but I will be including it in my repertoire of words-that-evoke-awesomeness. Thanks for another great post.
    (p.s. – New Glarus Spotted Cow is one of my favorite beers of all time.)

  22. CB- Good plans! But I do disagree on the leftovers. Not nearly as good for me. Worth eating, but less delicious.

  23. It looks soooo good! I must try it. Have you ever tried the Japanese pizza from Heidi Swanson? I bet you like it too.

  24. This kind of recipe is right up my alley as far as winter faves go, but… I second Eva’s sentiments. The weather here in No. Cal. has been too beautiful lately. I’m ready for some COLD! It is a bit unnerving to wear short sleeves in November. :)

  25. Your rösti photo looks tastier than Saveur’s. :-)

  26. Just thought I’d let you know that, on the East Coast of Canada, we say ‘shack-wacky’. I think that’s the one that really works!
    Thanks for the rosti recipe!

  27. Oh- shack-wacky is nice, too. Thanks, Lorely!

  28. I was think that I could put half the potatoes in, flatten, then quickly add a modest layer of sauteed spinach with garlic, then quickly add the remaining half of the potatoes on top. Even a cheese or onion layer in the middle would be interesting. However, this may go against the Rosti, shack-nasty grain?

  29. Ha. I think you should try, Jan! Sounds good. Just leave some room around the edge so the two halves can seal together. Let us know how it goes.

  30. Oooh, good call. We were planning on chicken sausage and baked beans, but the more comfort the better, I think. Tonight is such a nail-biter!

  31. This looks so amazing that I couldn’t not take your advice. Making this tonight along with some brats, green beans, and apple crisp for dessert.

  32. Heavenly carbs…I’ll add a bit of protein, like a sunny side egg.

  33. OH NO! Not a potato in the house…you are killing me with those great pics! Guess this’ll be dinner tomorrow. I’m with you on the sour cream and scallions.

  34. Currently watching! And OMG, my parents were just there this weekend and brought this (the leftovers) home for my brother. Too funny!

  35. Wow, I must not eat out enough. Have never seen rosti anywhere except in New Glarus. It is OK to cook potatoes ahead of time but not too much. Should still be firms. and yes they should be cooled. If you want to grate raw and blanch you could do that also. My mother’s family is Swiss…came to Wisconsin to farm and make cheese. We put cheese in ours, Swiss is good. We do not add egg or onion or other things.

  36. TIM! You totally inspired me. After seeing this post last night I started stressing about what I was going to cook/eat at home, alone, happily curled up in front of my TV! All day long I fretted… rosti? Tim’s mac n cheese? My farmers market veggies that I SHOULD eat? Well I ended up stress-cooking all night! Couldn’t sit still! Squash soup, rosti, applesauce for my rosti, and soon… chocolate chip cookies! Thanks for the inspiration and long-distance camaraderie. :)

  37. Sounds awesome, Mary Anne! It was a great night. Worth all of the stress and anxiety calories. xoxo

  38. Shack-nasty!! Hee! My new favorite word. Thank you for that. xo

  39. This looks glorious!! – like maybe a thick creamy (and super easy) latke?! Can’t wait to try this, thank you.

  40. Yum, yum, yum. This rosti looks like a giant latke and it looks so delicious. I am beyond thrilled that Obama has been re-elected for a second term. At our election party we ordered a few ginormous pizza pies (who could cook with all that stress) and drank lots of wine which, upon reflection, should have been tempered with a lot of water. Oy!
    Tonight we are celebrating the victory with the White House’s roasted pumpkin soup, with candied pepitas and greek yogurt (http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/11/white-house-recipe-roasted-pumpkin.html ) and Michelle Obama’s white and dark chocolate chip cookies: (http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/10/first-lady-michelle-obama-wins-family.html)
    Then we will sit back and hope he can be the most progressive and transformative president…ever!

  41. I couldn’t eat last night until Ohio got called and I could begin to relax. So, I made the rösti tonight instead, and it is simply amazing. I love it when a few simple ingredients come together to make something so surprisingly special.

  42. BRILLIANT!!! Love!

  43. Since I am in Madison, and love New Glarus (but agree on the heaviness of some items), I am sooo going to make this! Lots of potatoes from our CSA that need cooking! Thanks for the recipe.

  44. Now that we have a baby in daycare stealing all our money, this looks like a great inexpensive dinner. Think I can use my cuisinart shred attachment for the potatoes or a cheese grater is definitely the way to go?

  45. Hi! You can use a Cuisinart, that is no problem. I am just surprised you guys think that is easier! Really? It takes about 45 seconds to grate 3 potatoes on a cheese grater, and much less clean-up. BUT! Either will work. ;)

  46. Uggh you are right. If only I could be wealthy and throw away the Cuis after each use. Thanks! :)

  47. Claire, LOL.

  48. Rösti is one of my favorite dishes ever – I lived in Basel, Switzerland for a year and enjoyed it often at the best place in town, the Hasenburg, mere steps from the Marktplatz. The way it was explained to me was that you parboil the potatoes the night before with the skin on, and then peel and grate them when you want to use them. Also, the pancake is not quite as thick as the one you made. On the other hand, using raw potatoes forces them to steam as the rösti cooks in the pan, yielding a creamy texture and a more cohesive dish. I’ve had rösti made with both raw and cooked potatoes and raw is BEST, in my opinion! Typically, Basler style is to serve rösti with ham & egg, or with ham & cheese. It’s also usually served with a hearty mixed salat (http://www.about.ch/culture/food/salat.html) which cuts the richness! Rösti is the BEST!

  49. Delicious! I looove this, it’s like a classy hashbrown :)

  50. What a divine way to eat potato, I’m in love. I’m making this for supper! xo

  51. New to your blog – it’s absolutely beautiful; I’ll be back!

  52. Just so happened to have some duck confit in the fridge when I found this recipe (Thanks Laura), so I busted out some rösti for the first time… OMG, it was better than bacon (BTB)…. Thanks Tim!

  53. wow, try apple sauce for dipping also, kinda like a thick latke.

  54. Made this rösti recipe this week because the picture looked so good. It turned out great! I followed your directions exactly (with butter, not lard), and I boiled the potatoes a few days in advance and put them in the fridge. Only thing that could be improved: when I mixed the ingredients in the bowl and pushed the rösti into the pan, the soft potatoes began to mash, so the texture was halfway between rösti and fried mash potatoes. Delicious regardless. Served it with scallions and a green bean salad. This was easy! I’ll make it again.

  55. Hey Josh- thanks for checking in. If you want more texture, just boil the potatoes for a shorter time so they retain some shape. Cooking times will vary with particular potatoes, amount of water in pan, etc.. Mine maintained texture, but I can imagine losing it quickly. Anyway, glad you liked it!

  56. Crystal Clark says:

    November 18th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I just found your blog; this looks super yummy! Definitely something I’d like to try!

  57. Oooh, this look fabulous. Will the house smell like frying the next day if I make it? The first night of Hanukkah is coming up, but I can’t make latkes because I’m having very important guests to lunch the next day & I can’t risk having the entire house smell like a stale french fry.

  58. Hi Carollina- I don’t know if your house will smell. ? When I make latkes (or french fries) the smell doesn’t stick around. Probably depends on the ventilation in your home.

  59. Its my favorite dish since I have tried it 2 weeks ago. It is so easy and really really delicious…

  60. I finally made this tonight, served it with plain yogurt with a bunch of scallions, parsley, cilantro and lime juice mixed in. It was INSANELY good! My husband aptly described it as tasting like sour cream and onion chips. But, you know, in the best way possible. (Admittedly, I wil dial down the salt next time. Tasty, but salty.)

  61. This was simply delicious!

  62. Who measures lard in tablespoons!

  63. Your mom!

  64. Rosti! I haven’t had it since I was in Switzerland years ago. I can’t wait to try your version as I have loved all of your recipes that I have tried so far. Please tell me you will take on raclette next, my favorite Swiss dish.

What do you think?