Dry potatoes = crisp potatoes

By Lisa Cericola
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hash browns
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To me, the best part of a plate of hash browns is the frizzled, shatteringly crisp outer edges. If you are cooking a batch of hash browns at home, this is inevitably the part you'll want to eat right out of the pan.

If you're a fan of the crunchy bits, the key is to wring as much liquid as possible out of the raw shredded potatoes. Wet foods do not brown when cooked, and potatoes are full of water. Whether you are using bagged pre-shredded potatoes or shredding the potatoes by hand or in a food processor (if so, use russet potatoes, which crisp up better than waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold), you want the shreds to be dry when they hit the skillet. (While we're on the topic of skillets, a nonstick or cast-iron skillet is the best pan for this job.)

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You can squeeze out the potato liquid in several ways. Cheesecloth will do the trick, but if that's not something that you have on hand, don't worry. The next best option is a thin, clean kitchen towel, like a flour sack towel. A few layers of good-quality paper towels (not the super flimsy kind) will also work for a small amount of shredded potatoes. However you choose to wring out the moisture, put some muscle into it and repeat the process at least two times. After you squeeze the potatoes, fluff them up a bit, then squeeze again. Then, season the potatoes and cook as directed, being careful not to flip them too early. They need time to brown in the pan so move them as little as possible.

All this wringing might seem fussy, but you'll be rewarded with the crispiest, most golden brown hash browns you've ever tasted.