Classic Swiss cooks will want to avert their eyes from the remainder of this post, as it involves using whatever root vegetables you happen to have around in addition to potatoes, and some tips on how to speed up the cooking process. On the other hand, if you're looking for a simple tasty dish, that will make a whole vegetarian meal, or a good side, and aren't too worried about culinary purity, look no further!
I was inspired to make this when I spotted ham steaks at my fantastic local butcher, Sparrows . As my two faithful readers will know, "eternity is two people and a ham" and a nice steak is a great, economical, and easy to prepare solution to this problem. As soon as I saw those ham steaks I remembered the rutabaga and celeriac in my fridge, and decided that a rosti with a kick would be great with that ham. As you may know, rosti is Switzerland's answer to hash browns, but with greater mystique. So, by including other root vegetables, I'm taking liberties here, but those who know me, will realize that it's a long standing habit ;-) Also, quantities (and even ingredients) are approximate because you could use a combination of potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, turnips, etc. in this dish. I happened to have potatoes, rutabagas, and celeriac laying around, and I recommend using about 50% potatoes, but feel free to experiment! You want to add an onion to whatever mix you choose.
Preheat oven to 400-425F. Stick a cast iron skillet in to warm up while preheating.
3-4 medium to large potatoes
about 1/3 rutabaga
a 1/2 to 1 inch thick slice of celeriac
1 medium yellow onion
Put all of these (or whatever equivalent selection of root vegetable you decide to work with) in your food processor using the shredding blade. Basically, if you fill the bowl of a standard food processor you will have enough vegetables for a regular size cast iron skillet. Put the shredded vegetables in a microwave safe dish with a glass lid (a large corning covered dish works nicely) and "parboil" for about 10-12 minutes. You can add about 1 TB of water to the bowl.
chop 1/3 cup fresh italian parsley
find your nutmeg and box grater (unless you happen to have a nutmeg grater, in which case you can find it)
When the shredded vegetables are partially cooked, take out the skillet and put 1-2 TB butter in it. While it is sizzling, stir the parsley into the veggies, grate about 1/4 tsp nutmeg in it, and add quite a lot of black pepper and salt to taste. Put all of it into the very hot, buttery skillet and spread into an even layer. Put back in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the top is brown.
If you are feeling vegan, you can eat this just as it is, with a nice salad. If you are feeling ovo-lacto you can shred some lovely cheese over it - raclette, quattro formaggio mix with extra parmesan, pecorino romano, a nice salty spanish brebis, will all be very good, just sprinkle over the top and put back in the ovenfor five minutes to melt. If you are feeling carnivorous, well there's always that ham steak, or a nice smoked pork chop (kassler), or even some thick bacon to enjoy with this dish. Warms you up just to think about it! Dee Dee