Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins
This is a technique recipe. It was published recently in the Sunday section of the New York Times. Henrietta's is located in the Charles Hotel, a few blocks from Harvard Square. The idea is to clarify the butter and cook the potatoes the night before. Clarified butter can tolerate higher heat used to brown the potatoes. The potatoes must be kept whole until the morning, at which time they are dry and can be grated. Flip them with a large spatula or over a plate. I find it easiest to slide it unflipped onto a plate, put another plate on top, flip it and slide it back into the pan. Time does not include preparation the night before.
- Peel the potatoes and place them in a large pot of cold water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and cook until you can poke a bamboo skewer through a potato, 40 to 50 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Drain and set aside to cool and dry completely, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, clarify the butter by melting it in a small saucepan over medium heat. When foam forms, use a spoon to remove and discard it. Cook, skimming, until the butter stops bubbling. Take care not to brown it. Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and reserve. You should have about 5 tablespoons.
- Heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Grate the potatoes in the large side of a box grater into a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix lightly. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to pan, swirl until it begins to melt and add the shredded potatoes. Cook until golden brown and crusted on the bottom, almost (but not quire) burned in parts, about 15 minutes.
- Flip the potatoes using a wide spatula (or see technique above). Gently slide them back into the pan. Add remaining butter around the sides of the potatoes and cook the second side until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges or spoon onto plates. Serve with eggs, toast and plenty of jam.