Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Diner Style Hashed Browned Potatoes


   I love writing about diner style and old sub shop recipes.  Part of it is the thrill of reconstructing a recipe that may have been lost to time had I not saved it, the other part is because this is the world I grew up in.  Being almost 43 I am allowed to have a hindsight perspective on life.  The world we live in now is not the world I grew up in and I'm not entirely sure we've progressed while marching to the never ending tune of progress.
     Let's take the restaurant culture as an example.  Growing up we had Harley's, The White Coffee Pot, Little Tavern, Harry Little's etc.  All family owned diners and sub shops.  What do we have now in their place?  Panera, Subway, Applebee's, Outback, etc.  a virtual rouges gallery of chain restaurants who don't give a hoot about you or the characterless food they serve you, they're only there to take good customer service, good food and good atmosphere and grind it up in the name of profits.

     I feel like the pendulum is finally starting to swing in the other direction.  People of my generation are fighting back against the urban blight of chain restaurants and starting to revive the family owned shops where the staff knows your name and even your grandmother would be proud to serve the food they cook.  It's why I'm in the planning stages for opening my own sub shop.  It's a huge step to take but I feel if someone doesn't keep alive this genre of food and, much more importantly, do it well keeping the traditional flavor and ingredients alive, then we will lose all of this forever just as we're almost going to lose the family farm against corporate agriculture.  It's one thing to slop some steak ums in a sub roll and call it a Philly cheesesteak but it's another to actually use thin sliced ribeye and care what you're doing so the end result is fantastic.

     What does all this have to do with Diner Style Hash Browns you ask?  When was the last time you went to a restaurant and ordered hash browns and got real fresh potatoes not some frozen chipped potato produced in a foreign country?  This is what I'm talking about, real food vs mass produced food.  This recipe hearkens back to my days of eating breakfast at the Double T Diner.  They had the best hash browns and they were good because they were made from leftover baked potatoes.  Pre cooking the potatoes gives you that crisp/soft texture that's so delicious with some eggs over easy.
My secret french fry & hash brown seasoning

Diner Style Hashed Brown Potatoes

2-3 baked potatoes
1/2C (one small) yellow onion chopped (optional)
2T butter
2T oil

Fry & Hashbrown Seasoning 

1T sea salt
1T fine sugar
1tsp ground black pepper

     If you have a rice cooker this recipe can be so easy to make.  Wash your potatoes and place in one layer on bottom of rice cooker pot.  Add 1/4C water, cover and cook as you would rice.  This works best with medium to smaller size potatoes.  After cooking cycle is done allow potatoes to cool.  Don't peel the potatoes and cut them up any way you wish, I like to chip mine by cutting in quarters lengthwise then slicing each quarter.  Prepare your onion if using and put aside.  Heat heavy pan over high and add oil and butter.  When butter starts bubbling add onions and cook till translucent, remove and set aside.  Add more oil to coat bottom of pan if necessary and add potatoes.   Cook until well browned on one side then flip and repeat.  Stir potatoes around flipping often to finish browning and add onions, cook 3 mins more season with Fry & Hashbrown Seasoning and serve.

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