Ozersky recreated the hash browns he loved at Waffle House, and wrote proudly and prolifically about his technique in Esquire, Food & Wine, Rachael Ray, eHow, and more. This version of the recipe is adapted slightly from his post on the blog My Last Supper (February, 2012). —Genius Recipes
1, or 2 if you really like that other person
Potatoes (about 1/2 medium potato per person)
In This Recipe
Take a big pan, sizzle some salted butter in it, and just when the foaming subsides, coarsely grate an unpeeled potato over it on the large holes of a box grater. The potato, unmolested will still have all its starchy essence and the flavor that conveys. Do it sparingly, so that you see as much pan as potato; don’t pile it up anywhere. Ozersky used a 12-inch skillet and rarely did more than half a medium potato at a time. (Alternately, you can grate the potato on the side if you need to brace the grater against the counter, then sprinkle in your latticework by hand.)
Once the potato hits the pan, salt it. The reason you want there to be so much space is to give the steam somewhere to go. Potatoes need to shrink and shrivel, concentrating their taste down and replacing their water with precious fat. They can’t do that if they’re being jammed in next to each other like the crowd at a Motorhead concert. Give them room and let them bind with each other as the starch comes out. Amazingly, the shreds will form a latticework snowflake of starch, butter and salt.
Once this happens, slide it out of the pan in one motion onto a plate. Then flip, salt lightly again and cook for another 15 to 20 seconds. Then eat! (Alternately, you can flip in a couple pieces with a tin, sturdy spatula.)