Rösti

Discover more regional specialties on my small group Swiss food & wine tour!

Rösti (Roesti - Swiss Potato Cake) on a black plate with checked tablecloth

Talking about a ‘potato’ rösti in Switzerland is redundant (like ‘cheese’ fondue) as there’s only one type of true rösti and it’s made from potato. Swiss menus don’t generally offer much for vegetarians, but most have rösti with either a creamy mushroom sauce or fried egg (Spiegelei), both of which are filling and delicious. In Switzerland, rösti is usually made in a much larger portion, enough to feed 6 or more people, and the experienced rösti cook theatrically flips the half-cooked potato cake in the pan to turn it over rather than using my method of turning it onto a plate then sliding it back in. I’ve never tried the flipping, but I’m pretty sure mine would end up on the floor. Rösti made with raw potato is typical of Canton Bern, most other areas use boiled potato; either way the key to a deliciously crisp rösti is to extract as much moisture as possible, so if using boiled potatoes leave them uncovered in the fridge overnight before grating and if using raw ones, get someone to help you wring out the grated potato or do it in small batches. And ensure your pan is spotlessly clean before starting so the potato doesn’t stick. It’s hard to get Swiss wine in Australia, so I turn to neighbouring Germany for a wine match. A glass of Keller Limestone Kabinett riesling is a wonderful accompaniment to rösti, with or without spiegelei or mushroom sauce. It’s delicate and aromatic with a lovely citrusy zing to refresh the palate between bites of buttery rösti.

Serves 2 as a side dish

Ingredients
  • 550g Dutch cream potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 50g butter, diced
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Method
  1. Peel potatoes and grate coarsely onto an old clean, dry tea towel.
  2. Wrap the grated potato in the tea towel and wring it to extract as much liquid as possible.
  3. Set aside for 45–60 minutes, wringing it every 15 minutes or so until very little liquid comes out; the potato will oxidise and change colour a little, that’s normal.
  4. Remove potato from the tea towel and fluff it up.
  5. Place oil and half the butter in a frying pan over medium–high heat.
  6. When melted add potato, spreading it out over the base and pushing the sides in slightly with a spatula to form a cake of even thickness.
  7. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly coloured around the edges.
  8. Dot half the remaining butter around the edges of the pan.
  9. Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, it should now loosen when shaken, if it doesn’t gently loosen it with an egg lift or spatula.
  10. Cover and cook for a further 3–5 minutes, until edges are dark golden and crisp.
  11. Sprinkle generously with salt and nutmeg, add a little pepper.
  12. Cover the pan with a large plate and invert the pan to tip the potato cake onto it.
  13. Melt remaining butter in the pan then slide the potato cake back in, cooked side up.
  14. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for 10 minutes or so, until the second side is well coloured and crisp.
  15. Serve hot.

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Rösti (Swiss Potato Cake)

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