Rösti, a naturally gluten-free Swiss Tradition

by Jenn on March 6, 2011

in Breakfast,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains

Rösti with Asparagus Flowers!

If there were any dish the could compete with fondue as the most popular food in Suisse, I think it would be rösti.  Actually, I’m pretty sure rösti is probably more common than fondue in many places.  Rösti is essentially a fried potato pancake, and the possibilities for customization are truly endless.  Several regions en Suisse have their own versions, but the simplest is comprised of simply grated potatoes, salt, and some type of fat for frying.  In restaurants I have been to, it’s not uncommon to see rösti served with meat, or fresh green vegetables.  With the sight of beautiful asparagus finally reappearing again  I knew they would be perfect for our rösti.

Tree buds

Springtime brings with it change and hope, color and light.  Walking around outside in the bright sunlight this weekend, I felt like I was coming out of a deep hibernation, finally waking up again.   Really, I’m just happy that Winter is done soon.  It hasn’t been the most intense weather-wise for us in Europe, however it has been draining, and an overall emotionally exhausting time.  But with the flower blossoms and tree buds, sunshine streaming through the morning mist and birds chirping again comes asparagus, one of the first greens of the changing seasons. Seeing asparagus in the market just brought a smile to my face and I know things are looking up :)

Rösti with Asparagus

Rösti is a rather simple dish, and yet over the past year my husband and I have tried and failed countless times at making successful rösti.  We’ve even bought bags of the pre-made mixes thinking to ourselves,  “well maybe we can’t cook and grate the potatoes in just the right way, or figure out the precise amount of oil needed.”  That didn’t work so we went back to cooking from scratch again.  We’ve tried using different pans, we’ve tried different flipping methods, anything we could think of to make this rather simple dish work.  Our biggest issues? Getting the pancakes to actually hold their shape.  No matter what I tried, I always ended up with just a tasty potato hash.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but not rösti.


But my husband and I finally figured it out – so in case you are also rösti challenged, here are a few tips that should help you out –

Rösti lessons, learned (some the hard way)
Lesson 1 – one MUST use non-stick or castiron pan
Lesson 2 – it helps to stir potatoes around a bit at first, and then once they’ve cooked a little form into shape
Lesson 3 – a lid does wonders to help them cook in time
Lesson 4 – do NOT flip it too early, and use the sliding plate trick which requires more coordination than I have
Lesson 5 – understand some things are best left to others while you just photograph the pretty end result
Lesson 6 – no matter what, fried potato anything is bound to be delicious no matter how it looks

For flavors, you can pretty much add whatever you want to rösti.  Some versions are made with cheese, even apples, some with bacon, or herbs, so be creative.  And accompany it with whatever you like.  Can be a great way to start off the morning with eggs and bacon, or an accompaniment to a dinner.  Nearly every region of Switzerland has their own spin on this classic dish. So go ahead and make something traditional, or try a variation that is all your own. Mine is below, and is particularly tasty with fresh asparagus :)

Maybe Springtime is trying to arrive.... Rösti with Asparagus

Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays