Hash brown potatoes vary greatly depending on the region. They can be fried raw - diced, sliced or shredded. Or they can be fried from diced or sliced, leftover boiled potatoes. My favorite is raw fried shredded potatoes, like the frozen kind. I love them crunchy and browned on the outside and tender and white on the inside. But I always had a gray, gooey mess, until I discovered the secret to tender white hash browns from Julia Child’s very first TV show – The Potato Show.
Julia’s secret to white fried potatoes is to cut them and immediately soak them in cold water – diced, shredded or sliced. Then just before cooking, drain them, drape a linen towel over a colander and dump them into the towel. Then pick it up, wrapping the towel around the potatoes, twisting and squeezing all the moisture out. For wedges and French fries, soak them in water, drain and pat dry between two towels. Soaking in water immediately after cutting, works well when making boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes, too.
These are so quick and easy, and much better (and much less expensive) than the frozen varieties. Serve them for breakfast or as a side dish with dinner. Fry them with added finely sliced or diced onions, peppers or ham. Or like Waffle Hut, top them with just about anything – chili, cheese, onions, peppers etc.
1 pound potatoes, about 2 large
1 Tablespoon oil, such as canola
1 Tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet until hot and dry. Remove from heat and lightly coat with canola oil spray. Return to very low heat while preparing potatoes.
2. Scrub the potatoes and peel if you like. Grate and immediately drop into cold water.
3. Just before cooking, drain them, drape a linen towel over a colander and dump them into the towel. Then pick it up, wrapping the towel around the potatoes, twisting and squeezing all the moisture out.
4. Add oil and butter to the skillet. When hot, add the drained and dried potatoes and push down with a spatula to spread evenly in the bottom of the pan.
5. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper and cook until the bottom is browned and crispy, about 5 minutes.
6. Do not try to flip until bottom is browned, or the potatoes might stick. Flip the potatoes, in sections if necessary, and fry another 5 minutes, or until browned and crispy on the other side.
7. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200°F oven.