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Adjust Servings:
4 medium pontiac potatoes or any comparable alternative such as desiree
1 medium onion
1 egg slightly beaten
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable Oil
The Rest
1 bunch watercress
20 slices smoked salmon
200 grams crème fraiche if unavailable, sour cream can be used
1 bunch dill
3 tablespoons Fresh Cream
  • Serves 6
  • Medium


  • Rosti

  • The Rest



Next time you are entertaining and you want your first course to be a definite crowd pleaser, then look no further than this recipe.

The beautiful tangy crème fraiche is the perfect accompaniment for the crispy potato rosti and helps to soften the rosti just enough to be gentle on your guests palette while still maintaining the crunchy wafer like rosti characteristics. Add in the peppery watercress, the tender salmon and your guests will experience a beautifully balanced first course with perfect flavour and texture contrasts.

Although this is not a difficult recipe per se, it is worth having a trial run on yourself sometime prior to your event, particularly as the rosti does require a little bit of technique that you will need to perfect before attempting it on the day. Doing so will help you relax and be confident that you will be sure to impress on the day.

For The Crème Fraiche

  1. Chop a couple tablespoons of the dill and fold through the crème fraiche.
  2. Add a little salt and pepper and split the recipe in two.
  3. Fold some pouring cream through one of the mixes to make it slightly runny.
  4. Place both the mixes in the fridge.

Preparing RostisNote: You’ll need a 7.5 cm (3 inch) egg or pastry ring for this recipe.

  1. Shred the potatoes on the fine hole processor plate of your food processor or the medium cutting side of your manual grater (the aim is to make relatively fine strings of potatoes, but no so fine that they are just mush).
  2. Shred the onion on the same, if it won’t shred then julienne it as fine as you can with a knife.
  3. Mix the onion and potato in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Transfer to a strainer and press out as much liquid as possible.
  5. Lay a clean sturdy tea towel out on your work surface.
  6. Transfer half the mix to the centre of the tea towel and shape into an oblong shape along the centre of the tea towel.
  7. Fold the tea towel around the mix and wring it out over the sink as hard as you can, (the aim is to remove as much of the water in the potato and onion mix as possible, doing this will help make the finished product crispy).
  8. Remove the mix to a large mixing bowl and repeat with the remaining mixture.
  9. Add the egg, chopped thyme, and a couple pinches of salt and some cracked pepper.
  10. Mix well until combined.

Cooking Rostis

  1. Place a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Place the ring in the frying pan and add ½ tbsp of the potato mix.
  4. Using the back of a soup spoon press the mixture flat and to the edges of the ring, it should be very thin.
  5. Remove the ring and repeat process in another area of the pan.
  6. Once the sides start to brown, turn rostis over and cook until that side is browned too.
  7. Remove the rosti from the pan and drain of excess oil.
  8. Transfer the rostis to absorbent kitchen paper for a few minutes.
  9. Taste the first few for seasoning and adjust as required.
  10. Once you have mastered the cooking process and you are happy with the seasoning, repeat the above process until you have as many as you need.
  11. Once drained of all oil, place the rostis on a drying rack set on a flat oven proof tray.
  12. Five minutes before you ready to assemble and serve place the rack with the rostis into a 180 degree (350 fahrenheit) preheated oven.

Assembling The Dish

  1. Cut off any brown unsightly parts of the salmon.
  2. Cut the salmon into pieces that will fit well onto the rosti without overwhelming it, (see the photo).
  3. Pick off 18-20 sprigs of watercress, rinse and dry them.
  4. Place a small dollop of the thicker crème fraiche mix onto the centre of each plate.
  5. Use this to glue the first rosti to the plate.
  6. Place a little more of the thick crème fraiche on the rosti; glue a piece of salmon to that,
  7. Add a sprig of watercress to that.
  8. Put a little of the thick crème fraiche on the bottom and top of another rosti, put that on top of the first layer and repeat the process with another piece of salmon etc.
  9. See the photo for clarification as to what the end aim is to look like.
  10. Once the building of each stack is finished drizzle a little of the runnier crème fraiche around the stack.
  11. Serve and enjoy with the a chilled Pinot Gris or even something fruitier such as Chenin Blanc

Paul Hegeman

Paul is a personal Chef to exclusive Sydney clients and is also our most frequently contributing writer. Paul was born in The Netherlands and moved to Canada at a very young age. Experience with traditional European meals at home and the diverse multicultural influence of foods in Canada gave Paul a great appreciation for different culinary styles. Over the years Paul traveled extensively and worked at every level of professional kitchens, from the deep fryer in the local burger joint, to the Head Chef in Five Star Hotels. He now resides full time in Sydney, Australia with his wife and their children. You will find his recipes emphasize natural, uncomplicated flavours and fresh ingredients such as those found in Mediterranean and South East Asian cuisines.

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