Potato Hashbrowns Recipe

Paillasson de Pomme de Terre

[Potato Hashbrowns]

If you’re perfectly honest with yourself, you’ll probably realize that a lot of the things you do are in fact an alibi for something else.

Example? Example : I loved going out for breakfast in the US. I would order eggs, but really, that was just an alibi to get the hashbrowns. Of course, I could have just ordered hashbrowns, but that wouldn’t have been quite the same : hashbrowns on their own won’t hit the same spot. Their real value is in the fact that they come as a side, as a bonus, which in truth you like better than the main thing.

However much I adore hashbrowns, I’d never tried to make them myself, possibly because I had read it was difficult to keep the patties together, and to get them to cook thoroughly without burning. But on Monday morning (which was a holiday in France too, “La Pentecôte”) we woke up late and I felt like eating something brunchy, so I set out to make hashbrowns with the young potatoes we had on hand — which are your best bet for hashbrowns, as I understand.

They were really quick and easy to make, not to mention fun : squeeze-shaping the patties with your hands while the potato juices stream down your wrists will definitely take you back to your sandbox days, thus reconnecting you with your inner child. Try it, you’ll see what I mean. I was also happy to use my Old Bay Seasoning mix, for a perfect and instantaneous flavor kick. They were cooked just right, soft inside (but not mushy) with a golden crust, and nicely crispy at the edges. With the scrambled eggs Maxence whipped up, my brunch yearning was satisfied perfectly.

Variations ideas. This can also be prepared as one big hashbrown and served in wedges, and you can add other things in with the grated potatoes, such as herbs, lardons or bacon bits. You can also make cheese-filled hashbrowns : make thinner patties, and pair them (uncooked) into little sandwiches, with a slice of cheese trapped in the middle : use goat cheese, for instance, or a firm, gruyère-type cheese.

In French, hashbrowns are sometimes referred to as “Pommes Darphin”, but I prefer the alternate and lovely name of “Paillassons de Pomme de Terre”, which literally translates to “Potato Doormats“. Cute, no?

Paillassons de Pomme de Terre

– 12 medium-small potatoes (preferably young, new potatoes)
– 1 onion
– 1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
– salt, pepper
– vegetable oil

(Serves 4.)

Grate the potatoes and the onion (preferably in a food processor, using the grating blade). Transfer into a colander, and press with a wooden spoon or spatula to squeeze out as much of the juices as you can. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the grated potatoes and onion with the Old Bay Seasoning and generous sprinkles of salt and pepper.

Take a handful of the grated potato mixture, and shape it into a patty between your hands, squeezing hard to drain out yet more liquid. Transfer it onto a plate. Repeat until all of the remaining potato mixture is used up.

Heat some oil in a large non-stick skillet, and cautiously transfer the hashbrowns onto it. Cover the skillet with a lid, and cook for seven to ten minutes over medium-high heat, keeping an eye on them. When the edges start to crisp up and the patties have developped a nice golden crust (lift one cautiously with a spatula to peek underneath), flip them. Cook for another seven to ten minutes, covered, until thoroughly cooked.

Note : you may have to work in batches, in which case keep the first batch of hashbrowns warm in a baking dish in the oven (preheated to 160°C or 320°F) while you prepare the second batch (but not too long, otherwise they’ll dry up).

Serve immediately. Alternatively, you could prepare them ahead and reheat in the skillet just before serving, to crisp them up again.

  • Jennifer

    I love the “Potato Doormats” name…I think that describes them perfectly. Yum…Brunch is sounding quite delicious right about now.


    Your portrait of hashbrowns is great! I’ve never seen them isolated in such a way. They are always seen NEXT to something else. Clearly your efforts were quite successful – I thought you might like to consider serving them as we serve Latkes, with thin slices of smoked salmon and dollops of sour cream. A bit of grated onion added to the potatoes gives a nice flavor. Latkes are a favored food during Hanukkah. Homemade applesauce is also a nice “go-with”.

  • did someone say latkes?! while i often go with the classic garnish a little dill and smoked salmon with creme fraiche or a flurry of caviar will transform these humble little potato delights into a delectable and sophisticated treat. yum!

    here is my favorite latke recipe
    just in time for a nice weekend brunch!

  • SBV

    Nothing like a just fried, unbearably hot latke put a smile on my face. You should also try them with apple sauce (especially home made from Pink Lady apples or tart Gravenstein), another traditional accompaniment.

  • Oh boy, now I’m hungry for brunch! The question is, do you still call it brunch if it’s 2 p.m.?

    But I digress. I grew up (and still enjoy) eating an egg/hashbrown casserol my mom would make. Basically it’s just scrambled eggs and hashbrowns mixed with some onion, peppers and lots of ground black pepper thrown into a casserol dish, baked and served hot with some melted cheese on top.


  • Mmmm hash browns. One of the saddest things for me about moving from Seattle to Boston is that you can’t find hash browns in New England. You can find home fries, which are cut up squares or half-mashed pieces that are all spiced up and fried…sometimes on a griddle or deep fried. But not stringy, yummy hash browns. But I had never heard of latkes till I moved here either.

  • i love potatoes, esp. like this. i agree with robert – love the isolated hashies!
    you can also do a bigger version ie. the swiss rösti, and then you can eat it for dinner, too : )
    for rösti, my mother-in-law tells me the secret is to cook the potatoes the day before and grate them, then put them in the fridge overnight. i think this helps the potato stick together when making the dinner-plate sized rösti… i think. or maybe it’s just a textural thing. whatever, it’s delicious.

    also, thanks so much for linking to my food blog. i’m so pleased that someone out there in the world is reading it!

  • Jennifer – Love the name too! It didn’t really strike me as funny until I translated it into English…

    Robert – The salmon and sour cream pairing sounds like a great idea. My recipe did include a grated onion, and I agree that this definitely adds something!

    Monkey – Thanks for the step by step recipe, it looks like fun!

    SBV – Applesauce, ok, will remember that too!

    Agategoddess – This casserole sounds delicious, and I like the fact that it can be prepared ahead and baked just before eating. This is often what you need for brunch recipes, so even the cook can sleep in!

    Crystal – Well, I guess that just means you need to make your own hashbrowns! :)

    Kitschenette – So does your mother-in-law grate the potatoes after she’s cooked them?

  • Hello Clotilde,

    I love your weblog. My Oma (german grandmother) makes potato pancakes and her secret is to grate all the potatos together then squeeze (like you have never sqeezed before) out all the juice and let it settle. Pour the liquid off the top an mix the potato stach (white stuff at the bottom) back in to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper and cook them, serve with apple sauce, mmmmmmmmmm. My favourite.

  • Céline75

    I made it this week-end, as one big hashbrown cut in wedges (it’s a local dish of the area of St-Etienne, called “une râpée”).

    It was simple and good, pretty, golden and crispy on the outside and soft inside !

    Thank you for reminding me of this dish, and for the recipe.

    • Delighted to hear it. I haven’t made this in a while, you’re inspiring me to! :)

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