Meilin is a master of Spanish cooking, and when she was frying potato slices in olive oil and butter to put in her tortilla (the egg omelet from Spain), I snatched a slice to sample. It blew me away how delicious it was, and I knew I had to use the same technique with American hash brown potatoes. The results were just as delicious. Better yet, frozen hash brown potatoes taste even better than fresh ones, so it only takes about 12 minutes to make this part of a very satisfying breakfast.
1. Preheat a skillet on medium heat with a few drops of water in it. When the water boils, turn heat to medium-high.
2. Add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, then add a Tablespoon of butter to the oil. When the butter stops foaming, swirl it around, and add 1/2 of the bag of frozen hash browns to the pan. (Watch out, the oil may pop.)
3. Fry for 4 to 6 minutes (uncovered), lifting the edge of the potatoes to check with a spatula, to see if they are properly browned.
4. When they are browned, flip the potatoes, and turn down the heat to medium. (There’s less oil left in the pan, so they would burn on the higher heat).
5. Cook about 4 minutes, turn the heat to low, the stir the potatos a little. Let them cook about 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
It’s easier to turn the potatoes if you divide them into three parts. If you don’t use butter, the potatoes will still be delicious with just olive oil, although the outside browned crust may be slightly crunchier than with an olive oil/butter mix.
Electric and glass-top stoves burn hotter than gas stoves, so you may have to use slightly lower heat on these types of stoves. If you are frying the whole bag, increase the amount of olive oil to 4 or 5 teaspoons, and add a little more butter. Don’t overload the skillet with the shredded potatoes, or they’ll get steamed instead of fried.
Tasters for the California Olive Board determined that all olive oil tastes the same after you heat it. We don’t find this to be completely true, as it seems that Spanish has a slightly better taste when frying potatoes than Italian olive oil does. Either way, inexpensive supermarket virgin olive oil is recommended for these hash browns.