Friday, March 4, 2011

Hash Brown Patties, Fast Food Style

So, I've always wanted to make McDonald's-style hash browns at home, you know, patties, but I've never really known how to do it, or rather, haven't really cared that much about learning how, since any old breakfast potatoes are usually good enough, so it was only by accident that I learned how to make hash brown patties.  The hash browns in my last film, "Breakfast with the Pixies," however terrible they look, were actually the prototype for these babies.

I don't really recommend making these at home.  The amount of work that is involved is not for the casual breakfast cook.  Nonetheless, this is what you do:

I happen to have a cheese grater that can shred a potato really finely.  Once shredded, I plopped my potatoes into a bowl and poured boiling water from the kettle over them.  This "blanches" them and removes some of their starch.    After blanching them, drain them and squeeze them dry.  You want them dry so that the patty doesn't splatter when you drop it into very hot oil.  Grease burns on the forearms are not for the home cook.    

Salt the potatoes and form the patties.  Easy.  Because they are so finely shredded, your patties should hold their shapes without the need for a binder.  Right.  That's done.  Now it's time to cook them.  Twice.  

Using the same technique I use for french fries, I first deep fried the patties in medium hot oil.  If you haven't blanched them enough, the remaining starch will quickly turn your patty dark brown, like molasses color.  OK, pull the potatoes out of the medium hot oil when they're getting a little color and set them out on a paper bag.  Then crank up the heat under the oil as high as you possibly can and finish your patties.  When they look like perfect hash brown patties, pull them out and set them again on a paper bag to sop up some of the oil.  

Apply ketchup.  EAt.

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