For an 8- or 9-inch skillet -- and I highly recommend this one (I have the 9.5-inch one) -- you can use two or three large russet potatoes. If you use 3 potatoes, the resulting pancake will be thicker with a crisp crust and a sort-of mashed potato interior. If you use 2 potatoes, the resulting pancake will feel more like a giant latke. As noted below, you can cut the oil a bit if you are using only 2 potatoes, though don’t feel you have to -- because the browned rösti ultimately finishes cooking in the oven on a cooling rack, any excess oil drips off and the resulting pancake does not taste too greasy. This recipe comes from the I Love New York cookbook by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. Serve rösti with smoked salmon for a simple supper or elegant brunch. —Alexandra Stafford
2 to 3
2 to 3
large Russet potatoes
6 to 8 tablespoons
grapeseed oil plus a teaspoon for seasoning the pan
Preheat oven to 400º F. Peel and finely julienne the potatoes on a mandoline or a spiral slicer. A box grater works just fine, too. You should have about 7 cups. (See notes above for using 2 vs. 3 potatoes).
Rinse under cold water, pat dry, place in a colander and season with the salt. Toss and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain off any water the potatoes have released, transfer them to a tea towel, wrap and gently squeeze to dry off the potatoes again.
Heat the one teaspoon of grapeseed oil in an 8- or 9-inch skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Reduce the heat to low, pour out the oil, and wipe out the pan with a paper towel. This process of seasoning the pan will help prevent sticking.
Return the pan to medium heat, and add 1/4 cup of the oil. When the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, pull the pan off the heat and carefully add the potatoes. Return the heat to medium. As soon as you hear the oil and potatoes begin to sizzle, turn the heat down to medium-low. Let cook for a minute or two, pressing the pancake down with a spatula and loosening any potatoes sticking to the edges. If you are only using 2 potatoes, pour 2 tablespoons of oil around the sides of the potatoes. If you are using 3 potatoes, pour 1/4 cup of oil around the sides of the potatoes. Season the potatoes with a pinch more salt. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes (check around 8 or 9 minutes if using only 2 potatoes) at this medium-low heat. Every so often, starting after 6 or 7 minutes, slide a spatula under the pancake and try to loosen it from the bottom and edges and rotate it slightly.
Here's the tricky part: flipping. Once again, slide a spatula around the edges and underneath the pancake to loosen it. Find a plate that fits over the potatoes, ideally one that fits snugly inside the pan. To protect your hand, wrap it in a tea towel or slide on a long rubber glove -- I didn't do either, but oil could drip out and burn you depending on the size plate you are using. With your protected hand, secure the plate into the potatoes, and with the other hand, flip the pan so that the potatoes turn out onto the plate. Slide pancake back into pan. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or less if using only 2 potatoes.
Slide rösti onto a cooling rack set on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until the rösti is crisp and drained of any excess oil. Remove from the oven and let rest on rack before serving it with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, capers, onions, lemon, etc.