Have you ever heard of the Swiss dish, rösti? Before moving to Switzerland, I hadn’t. From my experience growing up in the United States though, rösti most closely resembles what I know as “hash browns”—grated potatoes fried in oil and served for breakfast. According to the official website of Switzerland tourism, the Swiss consider rösti as their national dish.
Even though rösti is popular throughout Switzerland, people use this dish to describe an invisible line dividing the German-speaking and French-speaking parts of the country. The Swiss refer to this line as the “Röstigraben”or “Rösti Ditch” (for details, check out this map showing the regional distribution of language in Switzerland). Apparently this division goes beyond language or cultural differences to also include voting habits.
Regional Rösti Differences
Along with the regional differences in language, culture and voting habits in Switzerland, so goes the rösti. Here are just a few examples of Swiss rösti, which is no longer just for breakfast.
- Alpensee Rösti: Made with smoked trout and eggs. I love this video (in German) from Betty Bossi, which gives a good intro to rösti and looks and sounds oh, so Swiss!
- Bernese Rösti: Traditional rösti made with butter and milk.
- Plain in Pigna – “Oven Rösti”: Made with chopped potato and meat from the Engadine region of Switzerland
Lately I’ve been making an oven-baked rösti with bacon that’s free of our son’s allergens—milk, eggs and almonds. This week, I tried it with sweet potatoes instead. My little guy loves sweet potatoes, and refuses to eat white potatoes (even French fries with loads of ketchup!?). Sweet potatoes seem less common here, but I can still find them in larger grocery stores around us.
Sweet Potato Rösti
Adapted from a recipe for “Oven-Baked Rösti” in The Swiss Cookbook, 2010.
4-5 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped bacon
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of pepper
several small pats of vegetable-based margarine
1. Wash, peel and grate sweet potatoes—by hand or with a food processor. Put sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mix with flour, salt, nutmeg and pepper.
2. Spread sweet potato mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and scatter a few slivers of margarine on top.
3. Bake at 200°C/400°F for about 35-40 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender, slightly browned and a little crispy. Serve immediately.
Please note: You can use this same recipe with waxy, white potatoes. If so, the cookbook I use recommends serving it with cranberry or lingonberry jam.
I need to try making a stove top rösti! If you have other Swiss rösti versions for us to try, please let me know. Just leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, and bon week-end!