Swiss Breakfast (vegan)

My version of the classic Swiss breakfast rösti mit spinat und spiegelei*—with vegan versions of rösti [potato cake] and spinat [creamed spinach], and fried Swiss brown mushrooms substituted for spiegelei [fried eggs].

Serves 4

1 ½ lb potatoes
1 Spanish onion
2 oz smoked tofu
vegetable ghee for frying

2 oz vegetable ghee
2 tbsp plain white flour
½ pt (8 fl oz) soya milk
8 oz spinach

frittierten edelpilzen:
8 oz small mushrooms
vegetable ghee for frying
mixed dried herbs (e.g., thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, & parsely)

[rösti recipe adapted from Leith’s Cookery Bible; spinat recipe adapted from food.comfrittierten edelpilzen recipe made up on the spot]

Finely chop the onion and tofu and fry gently in a heavy frying pan for 10–15 mins until the onions become translucent. Meanwhile grate the potatoes into a large bowl. There is a wide range of opinion on the type of potato and its preparation (see, e.g., how to cook perfect rösti). I use coarsely grated, raw (i.e., not parboiled), small, waxy potatoes; to create a single, large rösti that holds together, is crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and retains some of the raw potato flavour.

Mix the fried onion and tofu into the grated potato and season.

For the creamed spinach, start by making a béchamel sauce. (Again, there is a multitude of béchamel sauce recipes, I leave out the onions and cloves to create a plain base sauce. Also, it starts out rather thick as there will be additional moisture from the cooked spinach.) In a small, round-bottomed pan (e.g., a small wok) melt 2 oz ghee then remove from heat and beat in the flour a little at a time with a wooden spoon until smooth. Return to the heat, add the soya milk in aliquots, and whisk until smooth; remove from heat. Wash and steam the spinach (or simply cook the washed spinach in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid over a low heat; this could be substituted with frozen spinach—defrosted and warmed through—although I find the result somewhat insipid).

Meanwhile, heat some vegetable ghee in a large non-stick or cast iron frying pan or similar (I use a large non-stick paella pan with a plastic spatula). Press the potato mix into a quasi-cohesive lump in the bowl. When the fat is very hot, dunk the potato mix into  the pan and pat the sides and top lightly to form into a flat cake with straight sides, like a tortilla de patatas (española). Leave to cook on a low heat for about 15 mins, occasionally patting in the sides and gently loosening the base from the pan (by shaking, or with a thin spatula).

While the rösti is cooking, combine the cooked spinach—together with any remaining liquid—with the béchamel; season and grate in some nutmeg, then blend to a smooth paste in a liquidizer. Return to the pan over a low heat and cover.

Finely slice the mushrooms. I recommend Swiss brown mushrooms; common white or portabello mushrooms can be substituted. Heat some ghee in a frying pan, sprinkle in some paprika, add the mushrooms and fry for 30 seconds or so over a high heat, add dried herbs, stir, and fry over a low heat for about 10 minutes.

While the mushrooms are frying and the spinach is warming through, put some plates on to warm. Get a plate larger than the rösti, place over the frying pan and quickly invert. Immediately slide the rösti back into the pan and pat back into a cake if necessary. Cook on a low heat for a further five minutes.

(Any of the dishes can be kept warm for 15 to 20 minutes if necessary.)

Cut the rösti into wedges and serve on warmed plates with some of the pilzen and spinat, pickled cucumber, and good mustard (e.g., Dijon, English).

Comments welcome.

*Swiss German; my spelling and translations may not be exact.


About sammyhilbertspaess

Double Agent (at least)
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