Best of the Best: Riding, Rambling and Rösti

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Cathy Best

Cathy Best

By Cathy Best

I hope you enjoyed the ride last week, before we venture on I need to clear up a directional snafu. I’m thinking, you may one day follow Helga’s route and need to know this. If you’re traveling southwest from Beaver Dam to Mineral Point you pass through Edgerton first and then Cooksville. As written last week, I had you arriving in Cooksville first. This is why Richard drives and I ride; he pays attention to navigation, I pay attention to points of interest.

Hop on; we’re off to New Glarus and our final destination, Mineral Point. Winding along “letter roads” – Wisconsin’s county roads are designated by the alphabet, as in, County Road A, County Road BB, County Road ZZZ… you get the picture – we pass Liberty Pole Hill Park where Union soldiers were recruited by W.W. McLaughlin in the 1860s. The park is also a geocache site for those interested in geocaching.

New Glarus is a village within the town of New Glarus. I’m sure there’s a good reason for New Glarus in New Glarus. But what? “The community was founded in 1845 by immigrants from Glarus, Switzerland.” City fathers in the old county were looking for new opportunities in America to save their citizens from the European famine and desperate economic conditions. They sent out two men to establish a community in America and provided loans for any family who wanted to relocate across the big pond. Most of the 193 citizens, that took the leap of faith, ended up in New Glarus. The village truly is a Swiss outpost; much of the original alpine architecture is evident along with newer imitation buildings. Restaurants serve Swiss specialties and the village hosts annual Swiss festivals. Today, the economy is based on tourism and agriculture. “The area still boasts the largest concentration of specialty cheese factories and award winning cheese makers anywhere in the United States.” For beer lovers out there, New Glarus is home to award- winning, independently owned, New Glarus Brewery. The brewery sells it’s annual 100, 000 barrels exclusively in Wisconsin. Opened daily for tours, guests can observe the brewing process and taste the fruits of Dan and Deb Carey’s 20 years of brewing labor.

Looking at my word count, we aren’t going to make it to Mineral Point this week. So lets do this- let’s enjoy a Swiss recipe. My friends Harry and Ginger Beverly can tell you a lot more about Swiss cuisine but I’m going to give it my Best shot.

Best of the Best

Swiss Rösti If I were a betting person I’d bet Waffle House was of Swiss origin. This recipe has scattered, smothered, and covered written all over it.

Röschti “Considered the national dish of Switzerland is also a favorite dish in New Glarus. A meal eaten by the early Swiss settlers after first arriving in the New World, Röschti is made with grated potatoes, onions, Swiss cheese, and fresh herbs. Röschti is fried and shaped into rounds or patties. Originally served as a breakfast dish, it is now commonly available as a side dish at most restaurants in New Glarus.”

Potato Rösti

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

4 servings


1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, chilled and shredded

1/4 pound onions, shredded

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Combine potatoes and onions in a tea towel. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the mixture. In a large mixing bowl, combine this mixture with the oil and divide into four equal parts.

In a 10-inch non-stick sauté pan melt 1/2 a tablespoon of butter. Season one part of potato mixture with salt and pepper and spread into a thin layer in the pan. Brown for 5 to 7 minutes. Invert the Rösti onto pan lid and remove pan from heat. Add additional 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the preheated pan. Slide Rösti into pan raw side down and brown for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a rack and hold in a warm oven. Repeat previous steps for remaining potato mixture.

This can also be made in small, pancake-size servings. FYI, I think the Swiss skip the onions.

Cathy’s additions: Use one or more

Crumbled bacon

Fresh herbs

Diced green onion

Layer Swiss or Gruyere cheese in the middle of Rösti and cover with more potatoes or melt cheese on top after browning.

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