Shake Up Your Hash Browns!

Posted by on Wednesday Sep 19th, 2012 | Print

Once, I spent a summer on a 50-foot sailboat with a dozen other people. We slept on hammocks beneath the stars and cooked meals out of canned chicken and instant rice in a galley that makes my small kitchen huge by comparison. Occasionally, we would trawl a fishing line behind us as we sailed, then fry up filets or roll sushi with our catch.

Keeping the yacht in shipshape was a 12-person job, and we rotated chores. Naturally, I preferred cooking duties to clean-up responsibilities. Problem was, so did a fellow “mate.” While the rest of our crew went off to scrub the head and relinquished the chopping and sautéing to the two of us, we found we weren’t great kitchen co-pilots. A summer’s worth of tension came to a head over salad dressing emulsification methods one night, and we barely spoke the whole next day. Yep, we gave each other the silent treatment on a 50-foot yacht. (Also note: we were 15.)

The point is, while I love sharing this space with you readers and my living room with friends who come by, I don’t usually want us all to collaborate on a single bowl of salad dressing. (On the other hand, if everyone wanted to make sandwiches and grain salads and roasted potatoes and honey-drizzled cake, I bet we’d have a really lovely potluck picnic in the park together. Eating together is the best.) Am I alone in my penchant for cooking alone though?

Along came Lissa Ivy, Alex’s step-sister, who shattered my preference for potlucks over communal cookery with one invitation. An artist and collaborator by nature, she suggested making a meal of these spicy Swiss chard tartines at her place when we visited San Francisco earlier this summer. I agreed, but not all that willingly. Yet as I plodded through the Noe Valley farmers’ market and grumbled to myself about the overlong prepwork, a group vision for the meal cracked through my reluctance.

Lissa Ivy added lemon zest and kale to the greens mixture, and the flavors melded better than in the original. We spread goat’s milk butter on our baguette halves, and my god, goat’s milk butter is awesome. And Wesley, Lissa Ivy’s boyfriend, made potatoes.

What potatoes! Wesley used his dad’s method of parboiling the potatoes before roasting them. Been there – seen that, thought jaded old me, as I watched. But here’s what I hadn’t seen before.

After boiling the potatoes but before spreading them out on the baking sheet to roast, Wesley gave them a thorough shake, tossing each one with spices and oil, and–here’s the crucial part–roughing up each potato, multiplying the surface area.

When these scuffed-up, shaken potatoes go in for their roast, there’s a whole lot more room for them to get crispy. Every little mountain top and valley created by the earthquake you roused in the pot has a chance to turn into a golden, crispy little nugget. I’d venture to say each potato begins to resemble a tater tot, but without all that grating and shaping.

Unlike most posts, this one has a moral. You might become a genius hash brown cook when you put aside your solipsistic preferences and go in for the chaotic act of making breakfast with a group.

**Summer Fest**

I’ve teamed up with Food Network and a host of other great bloggers to bring you Summer Fest, a season-long celebration of produce. Follow the links below to check out what everyone else has cooked up with their potatoes this week as we head into fall!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Crock-Pot Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes
Dishin & Dishes: Roasted Potato Salad
Made By Michelle: Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Red Chile Breakfast Potatoes
Virtually Homemade: Potato Onion Bread With Poppy Seeds
Sweet Life Bake: Tacos de Papa Potato (Potato Tacos)
From My Corner of Saratoga: Easy Crispy Fried Potatoes
Thursday Night Dinner: Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Oil
FN Dish: The Multipurpose Potato

**Recipe**

Shakin’ Hash Browns
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
Salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup olive oil

Put the potatoes in a medium-sized stockpot of cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occassionally to be sure the potatoes don’t stick to the bottom – about 12 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, watching to make sure the water doesn’t boil over, and simmer vigorously for another 8 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft and have a roughness around the edges.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pot.

Add the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and smoked paprika. Put the lid on the pot and, holding it in place, give the potatoes several good shakes. You want to rough up the potatoes and distribute the oil, salt, and paprika as well. Don’t worry if some of the potatoes look a bit smushed – they’ll all crisp up in the end.

Scatter the shaken potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes, until all the potatoes are very crispy. Serve immediately, with other brunch treats like eggs, bacon, and pancakes.

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  • Taylor

    Hash browns remind me of my grandpa. Love this post.

  • http://twitter.com/EclecticUnions Jessie Blum

    Yum! This looks amazing. I have to try this, it looks like a perfect side dish.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      They are! Though I seem to remember you make a fine corned beef potato hash without my tips :)

  • svenskaanna

    I love this post! And totally agree with the cooking alone sentiment. I had an ex-boyfriend that was as stubborn as me in the kitchen and we would get in fights because we cooked rice differently….

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Ha! I feel like rice is particularly contentious…

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.audra.dellinger Audra Rovinski Dellinger

    The pin it button for the recipe is not working for me :-(

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      So sorry, Audra. I’ll check on that.

  • Alex

    There are very few things in this world more tasty than these potatoes. You should just make them right now!

  • Megan Lane

    Oh my gosh, my hubby is going to LOVE these!!

  • Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe

    OMG, these look sooo delicious! They’re a perfect appetizer and I bet my guests will be blown away by them! I’m definitely going to make these as soon as possible :)

    http://www.insalatadisillabe.blogspot.com

    xo, Elisa

  • napafarmhouse1885/diane

    you had me at “solipsistic preferences”! and the hash brown technique is wonderful…

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Probably silly words to use in a blog post, but glad you enjoyed.

  • Liz @ Virtually Homemade

    These look so good! I am definitely preparing this recipe soon. Beautiful pics too.

  • Lisa

    Do I haw to use parchment paper? I’m going camping this weekend and we have an oven in the cabin and an outdoor grill. I dot think ill have parchment paper!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      You don’t! Parchment makes clean up a little easier is all. Have a blast camping!

  • http://twitter.com/misterbreakfast Mr Breakfast (.com)

    Can’t wait to try these. Looks like they got really crispy on the edges. Did you flip the potatoes at all during the 40 minute oven time or just let them be? Thanks!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I just let them be – no need to flip, really!

      • http://twitter.com/misterbreakfast Mr Breakfast (.com)

        Love it. Can’t wait to try. Maybe this weekend. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/ASaltySoul Heather Terry

    Wow. I can’t wait to make these!

  • JORJ

    you can also do this technique with lemon juice instead of smoked paprika for greek-style lemon potatoes. yummy!

  • Azzi

    I really hate potatoes, but after seeing this recipe I think I need to change my self towards potatoes. it looks simple and yummy… too. Thanks for sharing.

    http://www.saycheesewithbritannia.com/recipe/Paneer-Vegetable-Pizza.aspx

  • http://twitter.com/saltshul sami ariel

    I made these for dinner–we got impatient and didn’t cook them for 40 minutes but instead about 20… but they were delicious and I’ll try again soon. Phoebe, I have to thank you for this website (which I found via the BBC America blog for Chef Race). I have made so many recipes on here in the past few days (Noodle Kugel for Yom Kippur, Apple pancakes for Sunday brunch, etc) that I’m finally learning how to cook in my tiny Manhattan kitchen!!

  • Weezie

    These look amazing! I’d love to make them tonight, but I only have red potatoes… Would you adjust the boiling/baking time given their different consistency?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Sorry for the late reply, but no! Red potatoes are close enough to Yukon golds that you should be fine. Hope you enjoyed!

  • http://twitter.com/collecticture ANN Mi.

    i just made these for dinner tonight and love their really great, great, smoky flavor — its almost like bacon, that these potatoes have! i used red potatoes and butter in mine and couldn’t be happier right now knowing, after tasting them, that there is enough there for 2 people, whew! ’cause someone could get seriously hurt over these ;) thanks for sharing!

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    I can almost experience the crunchy sensation of biting into one of these already. I’ve got to make these ASAP.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      You really do. :)

  • jenna

    These are the only way I make potatoes now! I combine them with spicy black beans, scrambled eggs and pesto yogurt (inspired by your yummy breakfast bowl). Soooo satisfying!

  • Rachel Kempster

    I made these this morning–amazing (and simple) recipe. End result was perfect even though I just used some plain baking potatoes. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/LadyKOL08 Mirakol Smith

    I made these last night with the russets I had on hand. Added parsley and onion powder. SO GOOD!

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