perfect hash browns with garlic scapes

perfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskeyperfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

I have a serious weakness for fried potatoes.

A big greasy bag of chips, a plate of crispy pommes frites, a dish of allioli slathered patatas bravas, or a pile of golden pan-smashers are my culinary kryptonite. They take possession of my will like no other treat can. If there’s an open bag in the house, that crunchy, salty deliciousness becomes my all-consuming obsession. I told you this was serious!

Since they obviously can’t be trusted, easily snackable potato products have been banned from my home. This is the only reasonable solution for someone with a problem like mine. However, I’m occasionally seduced by the mountains of rainbow skinned beauties at the market. My mind starts racing with fried potato fantasies when I see them. I toss a few in my basket. Hey, if I’m going to (over)indulge, at least I’ve got to work for it, right?

I don’t play around when it comes to my favorite fried potato of all – the hash brown. Give me the shredded style of course, never diced. Why do so many breakfast joints in Eugene serve squishy home fries covered in a glop of gravy? I have absolutely zero tolerance for soggy, mushy, or limp, but sadly this is what you’ll find around here. Maybe it’s a regional thing?

When I want real hash browns, I make them myself…

perfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

My hash browns are crunchy and golden on the outside with just the right amount of moisture once you break through the crust. If you make them my way, you will soon put an end to those sad, slightly charred mushed potato cake thingies that haunt past breakfast memories. Here is my method…

perfect hash browns

1 4-5 inch potato for every 2 servings (the best to use are low in moisture and high starch like russets, stored at room temperature)
fine sea salt
organic extra virgin olive oil
garlic scapes*

Line a colander with a dish towel and place it in the sink. Shred your potatoes into a bowl. Salt them generously and mix well using your hands to begin the liquid leaching process. You want about 1/2 tsp of salt for every medium potato. Dump the salted shredded potato into the colander and lay another dish towel on top. Using your body weight, push down to squeeze out the liquid. Allow to sit for about an hour, pushing and squeezing occasionally. You might need to switch out the towels halfway through. The drier your potatoes turn out the better! Slice the garlic scapes into 1/4 to 1/3 inch rounds. (*Generally, I’m a hash brown purest and don’t add other flavors, but these pretty garlic scapes inspired me. Feel free to leave them out!) In a cast iron pan, heat about 1/2 inch of oil over med-high heat. Put the potatoes into a bowl and mix in the garlic scapes.

Once the oil is hot, take a handful of shredded potato and form gently into a patty. Slide the patty into the oil and press down with a spatula to even out the thickness. Allow to fry for about 3 minutes and then flip. Cook for another 3 minutes and flip again. You want a nice golden brown color on both sides. Once that happens, remove your patties from the oil and drain them on a plate of 100% recycled paper towels. (Sorry, PSA of the day!) Before frying your next batch, be sure to scoop out all of the little potato nuggets remaining in the oil or they will burn and ruin your next patties. Depending on your stove, you might also need to adjust the heat down just a touch and then bring it back up once the next batch is good and going. That will help you avoid burning right away. After you’ve fried every bit of shredded potato, give them a little shake of salt and then there’s just one thing left to do…

perfect hash browns by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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6 Thoughts on “perfect hash browns with garlic scapes

  1. yum, I’ll be right over…

  2. Lauren on July 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm said:

    Wow sounds amazing. I really appreciate the detail in your recipe, really helps me envision how to make them!

  3. These look so good! I love the tip about letting the potatoes sit for an hour-I’ve always just squeezed out the liquid and cooked, and they never turn out as crispy as I like. Thanks!

  4. Love latkes! I appreciate it your purism, too. I drain all the moisture out, but then carefully pour the liquid out and mix in just a bit of the potato starch that congeals at the bottom of the bowl. Makes for an even creamier interior.

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