Imagine: you’re winding your way through snow-topped Alpine mountains – pressing your forehead to the coach window as you pass rushing glacier-fed rivers and glittering aquamarine lakes. Then, you turn a corner and suddenly a valley of misty waterfalls and greener-than-green pastures is laid out before you.
Sound like a dream? Well this was my reality as a Topdeck Chef based in the jaw-droppingly beautiful Swiss town of Lauterbrunnen. Don’t be too jealous.
After quitting my 9-5 real estate job back in 2018 to join Topdeck’s family of on-site chefs, I spent three seasons cooking for hundreds of Topdeckers in Switzerland, Venice and at Munich’s infamous Oktoberfest.
And like many of you, I’ve been spending my time in isolation reminiscing over all the good times – and the delicious food that accompanied them!
Introducing: the potato rösti.
Let me break it down for you, it’s a carb-filled, crispy AF potato pancake. *wipes drool from chin*. In Switzerland, I served it as a side or as the whole damn meal – topped with whatever your beating heart desired.
Originally from the German-speaking land of Bern, nowadays you can find this traditional Swiss food all over the place. And when the borders open and you finally find yourself in the particularly stunning valley of Lauterbrunnen – you can tuck into one of these babies surrounded by a view so good, it’ll make your eyes hurt.
But for now, I’ll help up your food game (and bring the Alps to you) with my secret recipe for the famous rösti. Disclaimer: this is one of the easiest recipes you will EVER come across – so even the not-so-spatula-inclined can master it, no worries.
Prep time = 10 minutes.
Cooking time = 20 minutes.
Serves 2-4 (tbh, you’ll want seconds)
- 2-3 medium floury potatoes
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
Step 1: Coarsely grate your potatoes. Tip: leave the skin on the potatoes for optimum flavour and nutrition
Step 2: The key to a crispy rösti is to remove as much water as possible from the potatoes – place the grated potato in a clean tea-towel, pull the corners up and squeeze out as much water as possible
Expert tip: If you’re seeking the crispiest rösti, the best way to achieve this is by parboiling the potatoes. Let them cool down completely before proceeding to grate. Parboiling the potatoes will help remove excess water.
Step 3: Put the potato in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, mixing to ensure everything is combined.
Step 4: Place a medium saucepan on a low to medium heat and melt the butter, pour the entire contents of your potato into the saucepan and press down for an even cover.
Step 5: Cover the saucepan and let it sit for 10 minutes – you’ll know it’s time to flip when there’s an even golden crispy layer.
Step 6: Brace yourself: here comes the flip. To easily flip the whole rösti, make a lid over the pan with a plate a little larger than the frying pan. Using one hand to support the plate and the other to hold the handle, invert the frying pan. Once the frying pan has been flipped, take it away, add some additional butter (if needed). Shimmy the rösti off the plate back into the frying pan to crisp up the other side.
Step 7: Once crispy on both sides, carefully slide onto a plate, cut into wedges and serve with (or without) toppings.
Traditional Swiss toppings: a fried egg, pieces of fried bacon or thinly sliced hard cheese. But why not get creative? I recommend adding avocado, rocket and oven roasted tomatoes.
En guete Topdeckers!
Your turn! Open the pantry, gather the goods and get cookin’. What dish takes you back to the days of exploring?