How many ways can cheese and potatoes be combined? It’s an unspoken challenge the Swiss have taken up and the answer is apparently “endless”. Swiss cuisine isn’t known for a plethora of ingredients. Holey, smelly cheese is certainly at the center and is spun into a multitude of dishes, most notably into fondue, a meal where diners consume a large pot consisting solely of blocks of melted cheese with cubed day-old bread as the only side dish.
Another ubiquitous Swiss dish is raclette, which like fondue is basically about eating piping hot cheese, only this time the carb is small boiled new potatoes. Where raclette breaks the two-ingredient meal of fondue is in the condiments: pickled onions, cucumbers and a vast array of variations on black pepper.
But perhaps the quintessential dish in Switzerland is Rösti. This grated potato pancake can serve differing purposes, from the main course feature, usually topped with a fried egg, or more typically as a side dish to roast. It’s the french fries of Switzerland; instead of frozen pre-cut chips, here you buy vacuum packed Rösti as a quick dinner solution.
But what Rösti really is is a giant latka. Albeit with a lot less oil, but a latka nonetheless. So this year, why not go Swiss-style for your Chanukah party?
Rösti with melted Swiss cheese & vegetables
Parboil 1 ½ pounds of waxy potatoes. Meanwhile thinly saute an onion or a few shallots in 1 T olive oil on medium heat until soft, around 10 minutes.
Peel and grate the potatoes on large holes and mix with onions and 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper.
Heat 2 T of butter in a large iron skillet. Add potato mixture and using spatula press and form into a cake. Brown on high heat for around 15 minutes. When the bottom is cooked, flip over using a large plate or cutting board. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
Preheat over to 350ºF.
Grate 3.5 ounces Gruyere or other Swiss cheese over the Rösti and place skillet into oven until cheese melts. Cut into wedges and serve with sauteed bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. If you're really hungry, fry an egg sunny-side up and bang that on top too.