In the realm
of breakfast food, hash browns are often relegated to sidekick. These shredded spuds often act as mere add-ons to main courses of more heroic stature: omelets, eggs Benedict, and huevos rancheros.
If you’ve made from-scratch hash browns, however, you know that it takes a certain finesse to make them light, crispy, and golden. And you know that if you pull off perfect hash browns, they ain’t no sidekick.
Especially when they’re hash browns made from this Kent Rathbun recipe. His tater-based dish is heartier than the typical diner side due to the introduction of bacon, cheddar, and leeks. It’s a meal on its own, or served alongside sausage and eggs … if you must.
Crispy Leek Hash Browns
Recipe by Kent Rathbun, chef of Kent Rathbun Restaurants
What you’ll need:
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 cup washed and julienned leeks
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp chopped chives
½ cup shredded white cheddar
½ cup diced bacon, fried crisp, and drained of grease
Canola oil for pan-frying
How to make it:
1. Place potatoes in a steamer and steam until they soften, but aren’t mushy, 10 to 12 minutes. (If you don’t have a steamer, you can boil or roast the potatoes for 5 to 7 minutes.)
2. Cool potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes and then shred them on the large-hole side of a box grater. Soak the shredded potatoes in cool water for 10 minutes to reduce starchiness and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
3. In a large bowl, mix the shredded potatoes with the leeks, salt, egg, and chives. Using your hands, form a potato cake about the size of your palm and at least 1-inch thick. Repeat the process until all potatoes are used.
4. In a large skillet, pour in about ¼-inch of canola oil and heat over medium-high. When the oil shimmers, place the formed potatoes in the skillet, working in batches if necessary, and fry on each side until golden brown and warm in the center, about 5 minutes per side. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon, allow the cheese to melt, and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Photos by Mark Alpert