Whatever you’re making, it’s almost always best to cook the potatoes the evening before and leave them in the fridge overnight. While the potatoes are resting, the starch they contain undergoes some changes, which can make a big difference in some recipes. It definitely does in the two dishes I like to prepare for my daughter Emma if I want to make her a nice breakfast in the mornings.
For us, it’s either Rösti fritters or fried potatoes. My favourite potato varieties for these come from the mountains surrounding the Albula Valley: waxy potatoes work best, for example the prettily named Ditta variety, or the auspiciously named Erdgold, meaning “earthen gold”.
When I make fried potatoes, I boil them the night before with their skins on, in salted water with a bay leaf and a sprig of rosemary. For me, these needle-like leaves with their enticing scent are the key ingredient in fried potatoes. This love affair began when I was still a teenager and set myself apart from my mum in the kitchen by adding rosemary to my fried potatoes. My mum made excellent fried potatoes – but rosemary wasn’t part of her recipe.
Since then rosemary has been my go-to herb, not just for potatoes but in all areas of my life: scenting your room with essential rosemary oil improves concentration, so I always have some on my desk.
When you boil the potatoes, you need to make sure they don’t get too soft and are still firm inside. As I explained above, put them in the fridge overnight, then the next day cut them into slices and fry them slowly in clarified butter or lard. I recommend using a moderately high heat so they cook evenly and not too quickly. Then – of course – I add finely chopped rosemary, which gives the potatoes that unmistakeable, warm and enticing aroma. By the way, don’t add salt until the very end, then the potatoes stay crispier. If you want, you can of course add onions or lardons, but for me rosemary and potatoes are already the perfect combination.