Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Market Inspiration: Swiss Rösti topped with Shakshuka

Last week I took the boys to the Denver Christkindl Market, a traditional German Christmas market that replicates the kind of markets that have existed in Germany and throughout parts of Western Europe for over 700 years. The month-long market (which ends on December, 22) is located at Skyline Park in Downtown Denver, right on 16th Street at Arapahoe. 
Vendors are selling German crafts (ornaments, biersteins, wood-carved toys, lace, nesting dolls, etc.) from traditional wooden stalls. 
And in addition to the crafts (which were quite beautiful), there's lots of great food: cinnamon pretzels, German pastries, crepes, and bratwurst, to name a few.... 
You can eat your culinary treats (and drink some Glühwein too) in a large tent at the end of the market. The tent is filled with picnic tables and benches, a bar, and a stage designated for musical performances.

One of my favorite food vendors at the market is Latke Love. They are serving traditional potato latkes (which I always considered quintessential Jewish food from Eastern Europe, but turns out also exists as a German dish called Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen). I got the classic: latkes topped with applesauce and cinnamon whipped cream. I'm also a big fan of their other vegetarian option, Oy Vey Caliente!- where latkes are piled high and topped with green chili and a poached egg. Delicious!(For the omnivores, there are meat options too.)  
Now many cuisines have potato latkes, they just go by a different name. 
In Germany the latke is called Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen. In Luxembourg you'd order Gromperekichelcher. Poles slather their placki ziemniaczane in sour cream. Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians call their potato pancake deruny or draniki. And the Swiss have Rösti, a very large potato pancake that's a lot like a latke, except it doesn't contain eggs or flour. 
There are variations on rösti: some recipes add herbs like rosemary and caraway seeds. Others add meat, eggs or cheese. But they are all basically grated potato, that's been pressed and fried in a pan. 
This rösti recipe, considered the definitive version, is from Restaurant Della Casa in Bern. It was first published in the January/February 1998 issue of Saveur magazine. And last month, in celebration of Saveur's 150th issue, they reprinted it under 150 Classic Recipes. (I also saw it on Lottie + Doof, one of my favorite food blogs.)
Rösti: Swiss Hash Browns (Courtesy of Saveur Magazine


2¼ lb. russet potatoes (about 3 large)
2 tbsp. lard or unsalted butter
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste


1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Peel potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

2. Heat butter (or lard) and oil in an 8" nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When lard has melted, add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and mix well, coating potatoes with fat. Using a metal spatula, gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet. Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
3. Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rösti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve. 

Now rösti is plenty delicious on its own, but I was feeling inspired by the latke toppings I'd seen at the market. I decided to top the potatoes with shakshuka, a fabulous dish whereby eggs are simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. 
I used a tried-and-true recipe that I've posted here, but  made a few adaptations:

  • Omitted the peppers and instead added a few pinches of red pepper flakes.
  • Omitted the fresh parsley and instead used a few pinches of dried parsley.
  • Used 1/2 a small onion and added one shallot, chopped.
  • Pulsed the sauce a few times with an immersion blender to give it more of a pomodoro-like consistency, which I thought would go better on top of the potatoes.

But get creative. Top the rösti with something you like. Or, you can do as Swiss purists do...and eat it like it's been eaten at Bern's Restaurant Della Casa for hundreds of years.
Happy holidays and happy eating! 
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  1. Nom. Nom. Nom. I just ate all your rosti! Looks delicious, as always. Are you making latkes this year? Happy Hannukah!

    1. Hi Rachel-- thanks! Yes, I just posted a latke recipe, courtesy of Adam Rapoport/Bon Appetit. I'm on spud-overload! Happy Chanukah!

  2. Oh yesssssss! Hearty Swiss carbs with spicymato egginess as a topping! Brilliant move by Mammy!

    1. Pappy, you are my biggest fan :) Love you! When are you coming back for spicy tomatoes, home made salsa verde and some mujaddara (not all together). Oh snap! xoxo