Homemade Hash Browns: No Grater, No Flour, No Sticky Mess.

First off, I have to apologize for being so incredibly slow with this blog! I actually have a few unfinished entries, but taking care of a baby uses up a lot of free time! Hopefully, I'll be able to get back on track some time this year, despite also now having to plan my upcoming wedding ;)

Back to the task at hand, though...homemade hash browns! And you all know that when I say homemade...I mean from scratch with fresh potatoes, not from a bag of frozen hash browns, which really is probably what you're eating at the restaurant, wishing you could replicate at home. Since those are frozen and fresh is obviously tastier ;) I promise you that my method creates better hash browns than you've probably gotten anywhere! It's incredibly easy, too, and only takes half an hour!

For hash browns crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside...all you need is a pan, a potato, a knife, some olive oil, and salt and pepper (plus any herbs and/or spices you'd like to enhance the flavors with).

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick pan. While it heats up, cut one large potato into matchsticks. An easy way to do this is to cut off the top, tail, and sides of the potato so that you're left with a big rectangle; then, slice it thinly along the long side and repeat along the short side; you're left with matchstick size pieces (think about an eighth of an inch, no larger). If you're an anti-waster like I am, slice the top, tail, and sides into matchsticks as well.

Toss the potatoes into the hot pan, coating evenly with the oil and stirring constantly for about ten minutes, until softened. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and any herbs or spices that you like; stir to coat evenly. Then, gently form the potatoes into a patty covering the bottom of the pan; don't press the potatoes into each other, though, just leave them loosely together. Cover with a lid and allow to brown for about ten minutes. When crisp and golden on the bottom, flip the patty (turning it out onto the lid and sliding it back into the pan is an easy way to do this) and repeat, leaving it to brown under the lid for another ten minutes. When crisped and golden on both sides, you're done and ready to serve!

The secret to keeping the potatoes from turning goopy inside is the manner in which they're cut. By slicing them into matchsticks rather than grating them, the starchy liquid stays inside the potatoes rather than oozing out and creating a gluey texture. When you grate them, you have to make up for the starch by squeezing the liquid out of the potatoes with a towel and adding flour. Even then, though, they don't quite turn out right. This method, however, is foolproof :)

Soft yet crisp bits of potato rivaling the best diner fare!
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