The power of salt to season is nowhere clearer than when it graces hot, crisped potatoes. The best I’ve ever had were served to the chef Edward Lee and me when we landed at the Hütte Swiss Restaurant after a roller-coaster ride down the two-lane-with-coal-trucks-roaring-by that leads into the tiny Swiss-Appalachian village of Helvetia, West Virginia. Giddy, we may have ordered everything on the lunch menu. All of it was good, but what we could not get enough of was the perfectly balanced crisp and tender, sublimely salted rösti.
This recipe is my homage. The secret is in the squeezing, essential for the quickly browned crust with tender potatoes inside. Oh…and maybe a little credit to the bacon grease. Serve this with “Clabber,” Chive, and Caper Tater Sauce (recipe follows) and applesauce.
Rösti is traditionally made as a single “cake” in a wide, heavy skillet, but if you are concerned about breaking the cake when you flip it, do what I often do and fry in four individual patties.