Back in January I went to Geneva for a meeting, and my sister and her husband drove up from Italy to hang out with me the morning I flew in before the meeting started the next day. We discovered pretty quickly that there’s actually not much to do in Geneva, other than walk around. So we walked, took pictures, shopped, ate pastries, lounged in the park, and passed the day doing, well, nothing. One of the highlights, though, was lunch. We made our way into a crowded cafe and asked for a table for three; the waitress blurted out a lot of French that I didn’t understand and motioned for us to follow her. So, I smiled and nodded (automatic reaction when someone says something you don’t understand in a language you don’t really speak) and we followed her to the back of the restaurant where she put us at a large table that already had two people sitting at one end. As we were walking to the back, we saw people eating these things that looked like huge hash browns with eggs on top. We managed to tell the waiter that that was what we wanted, and it turns out the dish is called “rosti” and it’s a traditional sort of thing your might eat in Geneva.
All three of us ordered rosti with a slice of ham, cheese, and an egg and it was so good. A couple weeks later, once I was back in DC, we got a good 5 inches of really heavy snow and I spent the morning shoveling the wet snow. All I could think of was how much I wanted a rosti when I was finished. Luckily, all you need to make this is potatoes and eggs, so I was in business! I made a massive hashbrown, fried two eggs, and had a breakfast befitting a morning filled with manual labor. From now on, when I think of Switzerland, rather than my mind wandering to watches and chocolate, I will think of the rosti and how simple things usually are the best!
The basic formula for this is eggs on top of a large potato hashbrown. You can put pretty much anything between the two: ham, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, bacon (YUM) or whatever you desire. Each person gets their own rosti, which can be made in a small pan. Here is the “recipe” for one rosti– just repeat everything as many times as necessary to make as many rostis as you need.
Grate 1 medium/large potato and put the grated potato in a small pan and saute over medium heat. The goal here is to ensure that the potato will be thoroughly cooked when you put it in hashbrown form, so you just want it to soften a little. Remove the potato from the pan, clean the pan out and pour in about a tablespoon of oil. Flatten the potato down so that it starts to form a disc and stick together. Flip the hashbrown when the bottom is browned and cook on the other side until it’s done.
Top with an egg and whatever else you like!