Hot Potatoes: Innovative Hash Browns

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Humble no more, hash browns are being innovated and elevated on menus everywhere, and these spuds are for you, too.

All day dining is on the rise. A quest to extract maximum sales from a single footprint combined with the continued trend of high profile restaurants opening in hotels has resulted in a tremendous amount of early morning innovation. Returning to classic preparations reimagined with a modern palate, chefs have directed their considerable talents and ingenuity toward breakfast dishes that can be enjoyed anytime. In particular, they are taking economical potatoes and applying creativity to distinguish their menus with unique and craveable hash browns.

Craveable comfort

Hash browns are bringing crispy-crunchy comfort to handhelds, salads, snacks and entrées. These artisanal hash browns are not an afterthought; they are carefully constructed, signature hash brown patties.

A perfect disk of crisp and fluffy hash browns scaled precisely to a toasted bun ups the ante for traditional breakfast sandwiches, allowing the crunchy potatoes to soak up runny yolk and melty cheese while still retaining their crunch. Whether you choose fluffy russet potatoes or a waxy variety, which results in a more prominent potato strand and deeper caramelization, hash browns offer a low-cost, high-comfort opportunity to up your breakfast game. There is huge customer demand for innovation with traditional breakfast and brunch dishes, and creative riffs on hash browns are sure to please.

Breakfast poutines are popular mashups on brunch menus, where hash browned or crispy shredded potatoes can replace the traditional fries. The breakfast poutine at Arts Café, in Montreal, is an indulgent combination of crispy russet potatoes, duck confit, caramelized onions, poached egg, hollandaise and cheese curds. Prohibition Gastrohouse, in Toronto, piles three poached eggs with pork belly lardons, marinated cheese curds and truffled hollandaise over a mountainous pile of extra crispy duck-fat-fried tater tots.

Yolks, with two cafes in Vancouver, puts together a completely customizable benedict menu, with appealing options like portobello mushroom with arugula and aioli or smoked wild BC salmon and crispy capers, and offers guests the option to use truffle-lemon hash browns as a benedict base—a flavourful departure from the traditional English muffin.

Winning with rosti potatoes

Rosti potatoes, formed and fried in a pan with clarified butter, are hash browns’ continental cousin. The cooking technique results in a beautiful cake—deeply caramelized and intensely crunchy, the waxy potato allowing the strands to retain their integrity.

Fable Diner, in Vancouver, features rosti potatoes heavily on their all-day breakfast menu, pairing them with everything from eggs to flat iron steak, as well as offering them as a side with green onion sour cream. The golden, crunchy rosti patty is a natural base for sunny-side-up or poached eggs, as well as roasted meats or seafood. The Pointe Restaurant, at The Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, tops a perfect round of rosti potatoes with smoked salmon and a poached egg, spinach, cream cheese, fried capers and dill hollandaise for an over-the-top savoury brunch entrée.

Serving up innovation at any time of the day drives sales, and incorporating breakfast trends is a smart move regardless of your hours of operation. Using a wider range of techniques results in unique final products, like the cheddar baked hash browns at Poached Breakfast Bistro, in Saskatoon, which are loaded with shredded cheese and formed into rounds that more closely resemble large arancini or hushpuppies than traditional hash browns. Whether they’re a snack,  a side or part of a composed plate, hash browned potatoes offer tremendous potential.

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