Potato really shines as a morning star

February 28, 1999|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Potatoes are rarely more irresistible than at breakfast. To do justice to these simple dishes, don't pick just any old potato from the bin. For hash browns or cottage fries, choose a red or yellow thin-skinned, waxy variety that holds its shape when boiled or steamed. For potato skins, pick rough-skinned baking potatoes such as russet or Idaho.

Hash Browns

Serves 6

5 or 6 medium waxy potatoes (about 2 pounds), unpeeled

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch pepper

2 tablespoons each: butter and olive oil

Cook potatoes, in their jackets, in boiling salted water until about half-cooked (15 to 20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, peel off skins. Shred potatoes coarsely into a bowl. Mix lightly with onion, salt and pepper.

In a heavy, well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick 10-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add potatoes, pressing down with a spatula. Cook over low heat (without stirring) until potatoes are brown and crusty on bottom (12 to 15 minutes).

Loosen edges with a spatula. Cover pan with a plate, invert potatoes onto it, and add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan. Swirl to coat pan well. Slide potatoes off plate and back into pan and cook until bottom is well browned and crusty (12 to 15 minutes).

Serve from pan or invert onto warm plate and serve immediately.

Cottage Fries

Serves 4 to 6

5 or 6 medium waxy potatoes (about 2 pounds), unpeeled

2 tablespoons each: butter and olive oil

/ teaspoon paprika

salt and coarsely ground pepper

Scrub potatoes well. Cook, in their jackets, in boiling salted water until about half-cooked (15 to 20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, slice potatoes crosswise about / inch thick.

In a large, heavy frying pan over medium-low heat, melt butter with oil and paprika. Add potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Cook, using a wide spatula to lift and turn potatoes occasionally, until they are brown and crusty on all sides (20 to 25 minutes). Turn carefully to keep slices from breaking. Serve from pan or invert onto warm plate and serve immediately.

Pub Date: 02/28/99

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