Welcome to Clubhouse Eats, where we celebrate the game’s most delectable food and drink. Hope you brought your appetites.
You say potatoes. I say po-tah-toes.
But when they’re shredded and pan-fried, we both call them hash browns (okay, sometimes hashed browns), and like most people, we love them.
That’s not the question.
The question is how to make them at home.
Garret Martindale is the former longtime chef at Sequoyah Country Club, in Oakland, Calif.
We asked him to hash out the basics for us.
Starchy potatoes yield the best results, Martindale says. Think varieties like Kennebec and Russet. The latter, being more common, are easier to find.
One potato, two potato. Actually, when you’re calculating quantities, make it one potato per person, medium to large in size.
For starters, never store your potatoes in the fridge, Martindale says, as the cold will turn the starches in to sugars. Got it? Good. Now we’re ready to go. Fill a bowl with ice-cold water, generously salted, and wash the potatoes thoroughly. Then shred them, using a grater, a food processor or a mandolin. Martindale likes to leave the skins on for texture.
Place the shredded potatoes back into the ice-cold water. That will help remove any excess starch and keep the strands from clumping. It will also minimize discoloration. If the water turns chalky white (that’s from the starch), swap it out. Remove the shredded potatoes and run them under water until the water runs clear, then squeeze them dry and place them in a bowl. Add flour and chopped onions. A good rule of thumb is a 1/3 cup of flour and half an onion per potato.
Rosemary. Black pepper. Cayenne. Sage. Almost anything goes. We’re taking dealer’s choice here. Season your onion/potato/flour medley generously with your favorite herb and spice mixture and toss well.
Time for stovetop frying, in a heavy skillet. About a 1/4 of canola oil works well. So does clarified butter. But Martindale prefers duck fat for the depth of flavor. A properly sized skillet will allow for more even cooking. It should be just large enough to fit the shredded potatoes, layered about a half-inch high. Once the oil or fat is hot, add the potatoes, taking care not to splatter. Reduce the heat to medium and brown the potatoes on one side. This should take about 5 minutes. Then flip them and repeat.
Few breakfast items disappoint as deeply as unevenly cooked hash browns, burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. This can be caused by poorly rinsed potatoes, with too much residual starch, or by adding the potatoes before the pan is hot. Impatience is another common culprit, Martindale says. Allow time for the potatoes to brown evenly. Don’t try to rush the process by cranking up the flame.