Sunday Brunch

This weekend I had the privilege of being served undoubtedly the best breakfast potatoes I’ve tasted; crispy on the outside, supremely garlic-y with bits of grated Parmesan fried to crunchy perfection– simply delicious. Served with eggs scrambled with hunks of steak and homemade orange juice, they were barely the star of this amazing meal.

Matt, the gracious host and kitchen gadget affectionado, kindly offered these tips for achieving hash brown perfection:

The key to good home fries, and most things that are sautéed, is consistency in size. Potatoes take a while to cook, and the different sized chunks will cook at different speeds. I like to cut mine into small (1-2 cm) cubes to help them cook fast and thoroughly.I used to hand chop, now I rough cut them and use a chopper ( a la Slap Chop ) to streamline the process. I first bought a table top chopper about 6 years ago ( I think it was a Cuisinart ) and honestly didn’t use it much. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of dicing and when I stumbled across a Farberware chopper still in the box at a secondhand store I spent the 4 bucks and took it home. The choppers make short work of dicing most anything to a uniform size in seconds flat.
Putting my chopped potato cubes, diced onion and garlic ( again, all in the chopper ) into a very hot pan with 2 tablespoons of hot olive oil swirled around to coat the pan. I cook on high heat to get a good brown and stir or shake the pan to get a good even crust. Add seasoning to taste ( I like paprika, chili powder, black and white pepper from the grinder and a bit of cayenne to taste.)  After the outside has a bit of color, I turn down the heat to about halfway add a tablespoon of butter and let the potatoes sit and cook through for about 8-10 more minutes, getting a nice crust in the process. about a minute before the potatoes are done, I sprinkle in a healthy dose of fresh grated Parmesan cheese to stick it all together.
These work well for me, but different pans and ovens may give different results (another key to good cooking – good pans) the best advice I can give you is: experiment, and write down what works for you. Bon appetit!

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