Last week I went to Switzerland in order to see one of my best friend, Ingeborg, who lives in Davos with her English companion. After we shared the latest news with each others we got really hungry and since we both love to taste local specialties we decided to hit the town. After leaving the house of Ingeborg’s she got a brilliant idea to go to a place where we can find the best rösti of the city! Meanwhile we were marching toward the restaurant, Ingeborg, who is actually from Saarbrücken/Germany, told me that her grandma prepared the rösti with smoked bacon and cheese. My grandma prepared with garlic and egg-I told her, and in that moment Guy,-Ingeborg’s boyfriend exclaimed- “I love the English version rösti with cabbage!” So it was time to taste the Swiss version because that was the only rösti what we haven’t eaten yet! And we did.
In my opinion the Rösti is a bit similar to the Spanish tortilla because it is made with potatoes and flour and egg. The Swiss version is made by frying (or occasionally baking) flat round patties of coarsely grated raw or parboiled (semi-cooked), seasoned potato in oil. They’re crisp on the outside and soft and melting inside. Sometimes bacon, onion, cheese – and even apple – are added to the mix. Eat it as a side dish to accompany fried eggs and spinach or a sausage meat called fleischkäse. It was originally eaten as a breakfast by Bern farmers but these days you’ll find it enjoyed all over the world as well as here in Switzerland where it’s considered a national dish.
Make your own rösti!
1. Ingredients for the Swiss version: 40 gr butter, 1000 gr potatoes, 3 tbsp oil, salt, ¾ l water, onion
Wash potatoes, cook them in salty water in their skin. Peel them and put aside. Peel onion, chop it finelly and add to potato. Flavour with salt. Heat oil in a frying pan arrange the potato purée press evenly on the way like the tortilla is made, fry in medium heat until rösti is crispy. Turn rösti to the other side and cook until crispy. Serve it hot.
2. Ingredients for the German version: 5 streaky bacon, 1½ kg potatoes, peeled, 5 tbsp olive oil, 1 small onion, butter, for greasing
Crispy, rich röstis are a real treat, but it’s time-consuming to fry them on the stove. This version lets you cook a whole rösti cake in the oven along with the rest of your meal.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Dry-fry the bacon in a pan for 5 minutes until crisp, then chop into small pieces. Boil the whole potatoes for 5 minutes, drain then place in a bowl of chilled water.
When cool enough to handle, pat the potatoes dry and roughly grate into a large bowl. Toss with the oil as you go, to stop them from sticking. Roughly grate the onion and squeeze out any excess juice then stir into the potatoes along with the bacon.
Place a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes to warm through. Liberally grease a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with butter. Scatter the potato over the tin, trying not to pack it down, then dot all over the top with butter. Place on the hot baking sheet and bake in the oven for 1 hr 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through and crisp on top.
3. And a recipe for the delicious English version with cabbage and cheese from Delia Smith for Guy’s, Ingeborg’s boyfriend’s sake-I prepared it today!
Ingredients: 450 gr potatoes, 3 oz (75 gr) cabbage, 2 oz (50 gr) cheddar, 1 tbsp flour, 1 teaspoon oil, 1 oz (25 g) butter
1. First scrub the potatoes, then place them in a medium saucepan with a little salt. Pour boiling water over to just cover them, then simmer gently with a lid on for 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes then, while they are cooling, remove any stalks from the spring greens or cabbage and finely shred the leaves into ¼ inch (5 mm) slices. This is easy if you form them into a roll and then slice them. Drop the spring greens or cabbage into boiling water for 2 minutes only, then drain and dry well.
2. When the potatoes have cooled, peel them, then, using the coarse side of a grater, grate them into a bowl. Season with salt and freshly milled black pepper, then add the grated cheese and greens or cabbage and, using 2 forks, lightly toss together.
3. To assemble the rösti, shape the mixture into rounds 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide and ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Press them firmly together to form little cakes and dust lightly with the flour. If you want to make them ahead, place them on a plate and cover with clingfilm – they will happily sit in the fridge for up to 6 hours.
4. To cook the rösti, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C), placing the baking tray on the top shelf of the oven. Melt the butter and add the oil, then brush the rösti on both sides with the mixture. When the oven is up to heat, place the rösti on the baking tray and return it to the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the rösti over and cook them for a further 10 minutes. Once cooked, it’s all right to keep them warm for up to 30 minutes.