My father, being of the solid German stock that he is, is naturally a connoisseur of all things potato. In particular he loves nothing more than very crispy shredded hash browns for breakfast with his eggs.
Now, there are many ways of frying up potatoes for breakfast, and I think we do all of them.
But the shredded variety of hash browns holds a special place in his heart (mine too!) and for that reason he has mastered the way to make them extra crispy.
He explained his approach to me one day, while my mother was in the room and couldn’t help but overhearing:
ME: Dad, how do you make your hash browns turn out so crispy?
DAD: Use a potato ricer. It’s the only thing I’ve found that really gets the moisture out of the potatoes. The trick to these hash browns is to get rid of as much moisture as possible before cooking them.
MOM: I always used paper towels to press out the moisture.
DAD: Your hash browns are mushy.
MOM: I made this family hash browns for forty years and you never complained. They’re perfectly fine.
DAD: They were mushy.
MOM: You ate them!
DAD: Yes I did. And they were mushy.
(and the debate continues as I quietly leave the room.)
Mom’s hash browns are mushy. Tasty, edible, yummy, but still mushy. They aren’t as good as dad’s, and that is just a fact.
The trick to great, crispy, shredded hash browns is to squeeze as much of the moisture out of them as you can.
Then you need to make sure you are using enough oil, the pan is hot but not so hot as to burn the potatoes, and you spread the shredded potatoes out in an even, thin layer, the thinner the better.