Miracle on the Sacramento

This blog is about food as much as it is about travels, fun, football, scuba, etc. Sometimes this writer yields this stage when a food discovery is revealed. Such a discovery has been in the making, secretly, day by day, in a little shack on the Sacramento River in California.

Neither earthquake, drought or pestilence has stopped this man set on a mission. Humbly, his secret is revealed.

This blog has been reformatted for Mental Vacation.

Confessions of a Hashbrown Whore:

I admit it. It cannot be denied. I have no choice.

I think about hashbrowns a lot.

The reason I have chosen this time to share my defliction is because I have had an Epiphany. You see, after trying for decades to create the perfect hashbrown at home I have finally stumbled upon what works. I must tell you that I am nothing short of elated. But first, the backstory:

As a young boy I noticed that the potatoes served in cafes and restaurants were much different than those my mother cooked at home. We ate what was called "Bohnstedt Potatoes", which consisted of russet potatoes, sliced, with sliced onion, cooked in a steel electric skillet. Delicious. This is a very versatile style of potato dish which goes perfectly well with either scrambled eggs or meat loaf. The potatoes served in restaurants, such as the cafe in Mariposa that our family stopped at every time we went to Yosemite, were vastly different in texture, taste and style. They were in fact the Original Hashbrowns.

As I grew older and frequented cafes for breakfast more often I found that it was the hashbrows that I most anticipated and enjoyed. Then, after re-discovering the wonderful marriage that is the onion and the potato, I started ordering my hashbrowns with onion. Through the years I have had this combination served to me many different ways: red onions, sauteed and cooked on the bottom; green onions chopped and scattered on top; grilled yellow onions on the side...it is always different from each cook. And so began my quest to re-create the Ultimate Hashbrown at home. I have tried every conceivable (I thought) way of doing this. Different lipids, different vessels, different potatoes. I was never satisfied until just the other day.


I had known for some time that one of the keys was to use pre-cooked, cold spuds. But I always used ROASTED ones. On the occasion of my Epiphany, I used the red potatoes that were left over from the previous day's corned beef and cabbage. They were completely sodden from having been boiled, so much so that I thought they would be mush the next day. So I set the electric skillet on 350, poured a little puddle of vegetable oil (I had previously only used olive oil), let it get hot, then grated the spuds right onto the oil. Flattened, salted, peppered, they cooked. I let them stay a little longer than usual before flipping them (I had always been too impatient) and what appeared was


a gorgeous lightly browned sculpture of hashbrown godliness never before achieved. Then, after plating, the second test: Yes, they glistened inside. THEY WERE MOIST! GLISTENING! Crunchy on the outside, moist and glistening on the inside. Nirvana!

I repeated this process for three days, and it worked perfectly each time. It was time for the marriage. This morning I chopped up a sweet red onion and sprinkled some onto the the top of the browns before flipping. They sauteed from the underside for a short time and then the glorious medley joined a sunny-side up egg and a slice of dry sourdough on the plate.

There are no more words.


Unknown said...

(Blushing) Aw,shucks.....