Hash-Brown Waffles

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Hash-browns were always one of my favorite parts of breakfasts out when I was growing up. And I remember eating them by the plateful at a diner counter with my dad one time when he picked me up from school—a surprise lunch out where I measured out the ketchup with every bite and asked for extra malt from the fountain. Oddly enough, I never order them now: so decadent, and they rarely live up to the memory.

I came across this particular recipe in Sunset’s Eating Up the West Coast—part travel guide, part cookbook, it’s the one I first broke out a month or so ago for this other winning breakfast. We’re going to the Mendocino area this coming weekend with some friends, and it just so happens that these hash-brown waffles are a specialty at Circa ’62, an inn in Little River, California, near where we’re headed.

I’m not sure we’ll make it over there, however, so I couldn’t resist giving them an early taste.

It turns out that cooking hash-browns in a waffle-iron is pretty genius: once you shred the potatoes, the process is pretty hands-off. You’re left to soft-cook some eggs or fry up some bacon while they brown. And because they waffle iron (Belgian, ideally) has all those grooves, you get a higher ratio of crispy bites (the best parts) and plenty of places to catch the runny egg… or maple syrup… or ketchup… or whatever your heart desires.

Here’s how…

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While your waffle iron is getting hot, box-grate your potatoes. (We got two very large russet potatoes and it made 4-5 waffles.) You can peel them if you like, but I skipped that step. It takes some elbow grease, so if you’re making a lot of these and have a stand mixer, now’s the time to break out the grater attachment. Then again, there’s something fairly satisfying about it.

Place the shredded potatoes into a colander and give them a quick rinse to decrease the starch. Then transfer them to the center of a clean towel. Wrap the potatoes and squeeze out as much water as you can. (The book suggests twisting from both ends of the towel.)

Pack a 1-cup measure with potatoes for every waffle square. Grease the waffle iron with non-stick spray and spread the potatoes over one square. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of oil and add salt and pepper before closing the lid.

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I used my waffle iron on its highest setting and it took around 10-minutes for the waffle to reach a nice level of brown. Use those 10 minutes to prep the plates, because you’ll want to serve these immediately!

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Recipe adapted from Eating Up the West Coast by Brigit Binns (c/o Circa ’62/Kevin and Sandy VanderBes).

P.S. How to make the best buttermilk waffles. And a recommended waffle iron.

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