There is perhaps no ingredient more basic yet wonderfully versatile than the potato. Able to be transformed into the most fantastic of dishes, the humble spud can be fried, mashed, boiled, even turned into dumplings and pancakes. Have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner as the essential sidekick to a show-stopping main - or have it stand out simply on its own as a snack.
Hash browns showcase the best of the starchy root vegetable. With crispy shredded edges and soft, melting insides, these oven-baked potato patties are a classic addition to any hearty breakfast plate. Traditionally fried in lots of oil, hash browns can easily get heavy and greasy. This version gets crispy in the oven without the addition of so much oil. They end up being much healthier, and while frying requires supervision and regular flipping to ensure the hash browns don’t burn, baking them in the oven is an easier endeavour.
This fantastic hash brown recipe from Hungry Healthy Happy makes for wonderfully crisp bites every time.
Homemade hash browns: ingredients
2 medium-sized potatoes
1 medium onion
1 egg, whisked
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Homemade hash brown recipe
Start off by grating one potato and onion on a box grater or in a food processor. Take the grated mix out and put in between a kitchen towel: squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.
Put the remaining shreds in a bowl and add an egg, some minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine.
Cover a baking tray with foil and lightly grease with vegetable or olive oil. Take small handfuls of the mixture and gently shape into flat rounds, making approximately 8 hash browns. Place them on the tray and softly flatten so they retain their shape but can easily crisp up.
Bake at 200°C/400°F for 15 minutes, then flip over and cook for about 20 more minutes until golden brown and crispy.
You can easily spice up your hash browns with your favourite flavourings and additions. Scallions and paprika complement the potatoes well, or add grated parmesan for a lovely savoury kick.
It’s best to use potatoes that are neither too waxy nor floury: waxy potatoes such as Maris Pipers or Jersey Royals will hold their shape but won’t get as crisp, while starchier options will get crisp but also break down. The classic russet potato is an excellent medium to ensure the perfect balance.
As for plate mates? These hash browns are great next to scrambled or fried eggs. They can also replace the English muffin in an eggs Benedict or eggs royale. And for a classic full English breakfast, pair them with sunny-side up eggs, sausage, and some baked beans and roasted tomatoes.
They can even be frozen and stashed in your freezer for a later date. Just wrap them in freezer-proof bags once cooled and pop in the oven when you need them quickly.
How to make hash browns from boiled potatoes
For an extra soft and tender hash brown, try parboiling the potatoes before shredding them. That’ll not only soften them but also get rid of the raw potato flavour and crunch that you sometimes get when your hash browns are over-crisp on the outside and not cooked enough on the inside.
For optimal results, make sure you cook them in well-salted water, starting from cold and then bringing up to a boil. Once the water has begun boiling and the potatoes are barely pierceable, drain them and rinse in cold water. Let cool fully before you shred them to avoid burning your hands and to get more even shreds.
Avoid floury potatoes that easily fall apart if you’re using this method so the potatoes retain their shape. And there’s no need to squeeze the water out, as boiling the potatoes in salted water draws the liquid out for you - just omit that step when following the recipe above.
And if you can’t be bothered to boil your spuds, an even easier method of ensuring a fully cooked and tender interior is by microwaving the raw shredded potato before baking. Cook them for two minutes for optimum results, says Serious Eats.
How to make hash browns in a pan
You can of course go the classic way and fry your hash browns in a pan. To do so, just take the potatoes, peel, and place them in cold water for a few minutes so there is no discolouration. Grate them as you would for the oven-baked hash browns and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then:
Squeeze out the liquid while melting butter or oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Make small patties and place them in the sizzling fat, flattening down with a spatula to get the patty look.
Fry on each side for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown, making sure to add a bit more butter or oil when the fat gets absorbed by the potatoes. Since you can only fry a few at a time, keep the ready ones hot by placing them on a plate covered with foil.
If you go with the pan-fry method, make sure to use enough oil or butter so the patties don’t burn and go black, and be careful of setting your heat too high. Medium flame is your best bet for a beautiful golden crisp.
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