One of the highlights of McDonald’s breakfast, at least for me, is one of those hash brown pucks straight from the fryer. There’s nothing like that potato oval, crisp on the outside, with soft bits of potato on the inside, that also soaks up more fryer grease than I should be eating. Goddammit, I love fried potatoes. The issue is, I have to be up early enough to go get them. That happens maybe once a century.
Nerdist discovered someone who’s been able to figure out more or less how to replicate a pretty accurate version at home that won’t take a terribly long time. His name is Ethan Chlebowski, and in his handy video, he guides you on how to make them without much fuss. There’s a few keys instructions: make sure your grated russet potatoes aren’t too wet when you give them a first fry (you’ll be cooking them first for six minutes to get the shreds cooked off and to maximize crispness later); a dusting of cornstarch helps the potato shreds stick together a little bit and adds texture during frying; and then after they’re shaped, you rest them in the freezer so you can do the second fry straight from frozen.
If you prep a batch of hash browns in advance, you can keep them for a few months, until you’re ready to wake up and deep fry them off. This last part doesn’t take too long, around 5-6 minutes total at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also pan fry them in a shallow cast-iron pan, or even bake them. All the results are crisp, and suddenly, I’m wishing I had hash browns.