My old copy of Lonely Planet ‘Walking in Switzerland’ describes the Swiss national cuisine as “sound but unspectacular.” Having always been a lover of green vegetables, I was a little overwhelmed by how much the cuisine was dominated by bread, potato and cheese. But one of my favourite things in Switzerland was rosti. The Swiss equivalent of hash browns, this lovely dish is merely grated potato (sometimes with onion, bacon or cheese) pan fried to crisp golden perfection. You may be aware that, as far as I’m concerned, hash browns are the primary purpose for Australia’s alliance with the United States. Take that as you will, it gives you some idea of how much I would appreciate a serve of the humble Swiss potato dish. While I was visiting the country, McDonalds even included rosti in their McSwiss burger. Since leaving, I’d not really given Swiss cuisine a second thought, until recently.
I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for about twelve months now and recently visited a nutritionist about how I can improve my diet to increase my daily energy levels and balance out my energy during the day. She made many sound suggestions that were quite different from popular ‘wisdom’ and my established eating habits. One of these suggestions was that I eat food with readily accessible energy throughout the day, and that I keep my carb:protein intake at a 2:1 ratio. The diet has done wonders for me over the past few weeks, and I’ve been getting creative about how I can source this much carbohydrate while maintaining an exciting diet. Enter, rosti with Emmental and poached egg.
I had a great time in Switzerland, but I didn’t get to visit the cheese cellars of Emmental. I played diplomat, went climbing mountains, boating on lakes, hiking in the ‘Valley of Absynth’; I ate fondue and chocolate. I even fell in love. But I didn’t get to visit the cheese caves of Emmental.
Emmentaler Switzerland is a protected origin, medium hard cheese, traditionally made from unpasteurised cow’s milk in the Emmental region of Bern in Switzerland. It has a mildly nutty, sweet flavour with a silky texture and charecteristic holes in the cheese. I knew I would need to add this cheese to my rosti to make this delicious Swiss brunch. I had not realised how similar Emmenthal is in taste to the Raw Milk C2 produced by Bruny Island Cheese Co. When my next Cheese Club arrives from them, I may reduce the food miles of this dish by substituting the cheeses. I would recommend you use Emmentaler Switzerland, and not another ‘Swiss’ cheese such as Jarlesburg, because the flavour doesn’t compare to that of Emmentaler Switzerland. If you would like, you could serve this dish with a little wilted spinach, some bacon, or slow cooked onions.
|1||free range egg|
|1||generous grinding||black pepper|
|1/2||teaspoon||fresh parsley, finely chopped|
Melt the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan.
Meanwhile, wash your potato and coarsely grate it (skin on).
When the butter is melted, arrange the grated potato in two mounds in the pan, and shape them into patties and press them down to flatten.
Cook on a medium heat for about five minutes. Do not play with the rosti while it’s cooking.
When the underside is golden, gently flip the rosti. Place the slice of cheese on one rosti and allow it to melt while the other side is cooking. If the rosti cooks vefore the cheese melts, simply place it under a hot griller for a few minutes.
While the rosti is frying, bring a small pot of water to the boil and poach the egg to your liking.
To serve, place the cheesy rosti on a plate, stack the second rosti on top, then the poached egg. Sprinkle over a generous amount of sea salt, a generous grinding of black pepper and some freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy!