Switzerland: Mountaintop Rösti with Ham, Tomatoes and Fried Egg
by Jenn Oliver
A photo essay with recipe
Sometimes we need to let go of the world around us, our daily cares, issues that cause stress, and get away for a few days – relax, recollect, and come back ready to face the world with new resolve and vigor. This Summer my husband and I have been doing just that, in a series of short little trips. Last weekend, we went to the top of the world (well, it felt like it to us) to slip away for three beautifully brisk and sunny days in Zermatt. It was majestic, incredible, awe-inspiring, and magical. It was pure escapism as we explored the fantasy-like region around Zermatt and the Matterhorn, and all of our day to day cares floated with the clouds that sailed on past the mountaintops. No worries, no stresses, nothing but pure meditative existence, scenery, and a sense of childlike exploration. What more can one want in a holiday?
We gorged on Valaisian apricots as sweet as peaches in view of the Matterhorn from the comfort of our hotel.
We ate a lunch of rösti where runny yolks from the fried eggs greeted the potatoes and cheese whilst the glaciers ever so slowly rushed towards the valley they had carved.
We watched the fog and mist rise like magic in the morning as the steam and aromas wafted up from our cappuccinos, and color and light descended upon the mountain and all the hillsides.
Watching the sun rise against the Matterhorn was quite possibly the most beautiful event I’ve ever witnessed.
We drank rosé at dinner as the clouds mirrored in kind reflecting the brilliant golden colors of the sunset.
We stayed up all night into the next morning staring at the stars gradually tracing their way across the sky as we snacked on local caramel candies that responded in kind, melting effortlessly into a creamy sweet essence that lingered on the tongue.
I don’t think three days have ever been so restorative, inspirational and as filled with magic as this past weekend. I feel so lucky to have seen such beauty with my own eyes, and I only hope I have been able to capture it in a way that does the place justice. If you ever ever ever get the chance to go to Zermatt and stomp around the treks near the Matterhorn, definitely take advantage of it, for you will not be disappointed.
So even though it is summer here and 27° C today, I am still thinking back to last weekend, up on the mountaintop, enjoying a warm comforting lunch at Gornergrat during our hike. I believe this dish was simply called Rösti Gornergrat – it’s perfect for spending the day outside wandering around hillsides, staring at the clouds as they dance around the snowy not so distant peaks. It’s a meal to share and exchange stories with, enjoy a glass of wine over, and smile.
Prep time: 3 hours to prep/cook/cool/grate the potatoes
Cooking time: 30 min
IngredientsAbout a dozen cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 kg. potatoes, peeled cooked and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
pepper & nutmeg
Rape (canola) oil for frying
A few slices ham (I just used good quality deli ham, check ot make sure gluten free if you need to)
A couple of eggs and oil to fry them in
300g (around 8oz) Gruyère or Emmental cheese, grated
Chives for garnish
- Place cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and bake at about 375° F or 200° C until wrinkled and softened, about the time it will take to cook the rösti.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the grated potatoes, garlic, onions, and a healthy amount of pepper and nutmeg.
- In a large skillet, heat up a few tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat – at minimum, cover the entire bottom of the pan.
- Add potatoes to the skillet, let them cook a couple minutes, then turn them and let cook a couple minutes more. Then use your spatula to pat the potatoes down into the skillet, continuing to cook until the bottom has formed a brown crust (around 15 minutes depending on your size/shape/heat).
- Fold ham slices on top of the rösti and add the grated cheese, turn the heat down to medium low and cover, allowing to cook for about 10 minutes while you fry the eggs. This will allow the cheese to melt without burning.
- In a separate skillet, heat some oil in the bottom of the pan and fry the eggs to your liking.
- Remove rösti from heat. Remove the cover.
- Add the eggs and tomatoes on top, garnish with chives if desired.
- Turn out onto serving dish.