Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waffle House at Home

Last night (maybe after a beer or two), Scott really wanted to go to Waffle House.  Being on a diet, I could not have been less pleased with this, as I have no restraint when it comes the ol' WH.  I get the same thing every time: a cheesesteak melt with hash browns covered and smothered.  NOT good for the hips, my friend.  We came to a compromise... we snacked on healthy munchies at home (pickles, string cheese, and celery) and I promised to make him a Waffle House breakfast in the morning.

It has been years since I have attempted to make hash browns from scratch, but I remembered them being fairly easy to pull off, if a bit difficult to perfect.  The trick is to squeeze as much water from the potatoes as possible (did you know potatoes were so full of water? It's amazing!).

I started with two smallish Russet potatoes and half a yellow onion.  I shredded the potatoes and onion using my box grater over a tea towel lined with three layers of paper towels and lightly salted them.  I wrapped them up and wrung them out over the sink (it's fun to watch the tea towel turn purple... don't use a good one!) until I couldn't squeeze out any more water, then I swapped out the paper towels with three layers of fresh ones and squeezed again.  Meanwhile, I heated up a large skillet with a half-and-half blend of olive oil and butter.  When the butter had begun to brown and was sizzling, I spread out my potatoes and onions into a single, 1/2-inch layer in the pan and added more salt and some freshly ground black pepper.  I packed them down with a spatula and left them alone... if you move them, they won't get brown!

After about 5 minutes, the hash browns were ready to flip.  I  covered the hash browns with a large dinner plate, and flipped the pan so the hash browns were inverted into the plate, then I added a little more oil and butter to the pan and slid the hash browns back in, to cook for another 5 minutes.

A little burned, but it's okay... more flavor!

Meanwhile, I scrambled up some eggs, toasted some bread, and shredded some sharp cheddar cheese.  When the eggs were nearly set, I turned off the heat and covered them with shredded cheese to melt while the toast was finishing.  By the time the toast was done, the cheese was melted and the hash browns were a nice golden brown on both sides, and ready to serve!

I added a little mayo to the toast (just a teeny smear will work wonders) and made open-face sandwiches with the scrambled eggs, and topped the hash browns with a little more shredded cheddar (smothered and covered, just like I like them!).

Cheddar makes it better!

The hash browns were very nice and crispy, and had great flavor, but they were a little greasy.  Next time I think I would use less oil in the pan, and let the pan get a little hotter before I add the potatoes.  The cooler the pan is, the more grease your food will absorb.  Overall, though, I am quite pleased with how they turned out, especially since I haven't made them in forever.  Total cook time, including prep, was about 15 minutes, so it's really not as time-consuming as one would imagine.  And Scott, who has always been very critical of my scrambled eggs, said these were absolutely perfect!  (The trick is to let the beaten eggs sit in the pan for a few seconds before starting to scramble them)

So the next time you are craving Waffle House, save yourself some money and calories and just make your breakfast at home!

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