Hash browns and eggs

I’m surprised that, despite my love of breakfast, how many breakfast foods I’ve never made – or mastered – personally. Sure, I can make a mean bowl of cereal (it’s all in the pour), and my Eggs in a Nest are legendary. But there are a number of dishes I’ve been wanting to try. For instance, I’ve been attempting to poach eggs for years now. Can’t get it right. I’m looking to start trying hollandaise recipes. And I need to work on making pancakes. And then there’s potatoes.

Potatoes, in my mind, can make or break a good breakfast. Eggs, while versatile, are still eggs. They’re the lead singer of the band: dynamic and charismatic. The meat is your lead guitar. Toast is maybe the drummer (okay, this metaphor is getting thin). But good potatoes are like the bassist. They provide a good grounding to the whole band. If they mess up, you lose the beat, you can’t hear the harmonies, and people point and laugh.

This is all to say that I tried making hash browns for breakfast the other day. Never done it before. Figured it couldn’t be that difficult. I took five small potatoes, peeled them, shredded them with a cheese grater, threw some butter in a pan, dumped the potatoes in, and sprinkled pepper and kosher salt. I fried an egg and threw that on top when it was done. (See the bad pic above.)

A couple thoughts and questions:
1. Do I need to peel them?
2. Stupid me, I’ll shred them using the food processor next time.
3. They were surprisingly wet.
4. How can I get them more brown?
5. They were delicious and I’m going to try it again soon.

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  1. says

    Peeling them is usually a good idea. As for getting them more brown, I would suggest the use of a weight of some sort. That will make the potatoes come into firm contact with the pan to give them a chance to brown up. Good luck and Happy Breakfast!

  2. says

    If yer lookin' ta do pancakes, you must become one with the buttermilk. It is the only way, the truth and the maple syrup. I recommend Betty's recipe. You know Betty, right? Betty Crocker.

  3. says

    Nick – once you've finished shredding the potatoes (grater, food processor, whatever), let them sit on a paper towel on a plate. This will allow excess moisture to leave the spuds. You might need to force the issue by pressing them with a spatula. Either way, definitely get rid of some of that water (but not all of it!)When you're ready to tackle poaching and hollandaise let me know. There are important tricks to both.

  4. says

    Hashbrowns are not easy Nick. The best hash browns *texturally* I believe are something like Jack and Benny’s, but, I believe they start frozen, not perfect flavor, but I like them because of the texture.

    Most agree potatoes for hash browns and fries should be russet. Some crazy bastards like the Yukon Gold. Most hash brown methods require some kind of double cooking (again, like fries). Cooks Illustrated, long ago, published a method where they started the taters (cubed I believe) in a little water which steams them. Then, the water boils off, add oil and they brown; the potatoes are starting from a precooked state. It’s a worthwhile pursuit, but it’s more difficult than the simplicity of the food would lead you to believe.

    Godspeed son.

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