What does Kentucky taste like?
Is it a mess of fried chicken, washed down with bourbon-laced mint juleps, while toes tap to the tune of a bluegrass soundtrack?
Those, at least, are the things that I think of when I hear the name Kentucky. That and the fact that it is home to the famous Kentucky Derby.
Now, while Kentucky isn’t exactly my neck of the woods, and I can’t claim to know what would be a truly authentic derby party contribution, I reckon that you just can’t go wrong with spuds. I have even tried, in my own small way, to give these particular spuds a little bit of Kentucky-inspired flavour. Now I just need to get me a derby hat and I’m all set.
Rösti with Kentucky Fried Inspiration
See, I did promise that I would make my own rösti sometime.
What makes this nominally Kentucky-ish is that I used, as a rough baseline for the seasonings, a list that I found here which purported to describe the herbs and spices in the Kentucky Fried Chicken formula (a very closely guarded secret, by all accounts). Goodness knows if this list bears any relation to the actual formula and, not having eaten Kentucky Fried Chicken for eons, I can’t really say whether this tastes anything like it. I will just say that it’s tasty in its own right and it’s fried. Do you really need to know anything else?
- 750g potatoes, preferably a waxy variety
- 1 tblsp butter
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 0.5 tsp oregano
- 0.25 tsp dried rosemary
- 0.25 tsp dried thyme
- 0.25 tsp dried sage
- 1 small onion, about 100g, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- 0.75 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
You’ll also need:
- 24cm frying pan, preferably non-stick, plus a lid or plate slightly wider than the pan for turning the rösti over.
- Scrub the potatoes and leave them unpeeled. Bring about 1.5l of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the potatoes and about 2 tsp salt. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer gently, covered, for around 20-30 minutes (depending on size) or until just fork-tender. Allow them to cool completely, then peel and grate coarsely.
- Place your frying pan over a medium heat. When hot add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add the paprika, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage, stir briefly, then add the chopped onion and garlic. Stir and fry for about 4 minutes, or until the onion has started to soften.
- Add the chopped parsley, salt and a couple of twists of black pepper to the pan, then gradually incorporate the potatoes into the onion mixture, and stir and fry for 2-3 minutes. You can add a little more butter if the mixture seems dry.
- Flatten the potato mixture into a pancake using a spatula or similar, cover and cook without stirring for about 15 minutes until the base is golden.
- To turn, take a plate or flat saucepan lid, place it on the frying pan, and invert the pan so that the rösti ends up on the plate. Then slide it carefully back into the pan and cook on the second side for about 10 minutes.
- Slice it up and serve. Make a meal of it with a fried egg and bacon or perhaps even fried chicken, or slice into cubes and serve tapas-style.
- Skip the onions, garlic and herbs if you just want a plain rösti. On the other hand, if the Colonel’s spice recipe ever becomes public, feel free to adjust the seasonings here accordingly.
- Side dish servings for 3-4 or main dish servings for 2.