Hash Brown Waffles with Wild Garlic Pesto & Gruyere

Gosh, but it’s taken me an age to spit out a new blog post, hasn’t it?!

Believe me then, that this is worth the effort.

Sage Appliances sent me a waffle maker (cheers guys!) – so you can only imagine the long list of ideas I had managed to scrawl down in the time between their email offer and delivery of the very beast itself. The list including nothing so pedestrian as to contain anything requiring merely ‘waffle batter’. No, the common or garden waffle has never held much appeal to me; being neither my beloved bread nor interesting enough as a sweet option to really sway me. However the sampling of a corn bread version at Notting Hill’s Egg Break had me all of the curious…..

Inevitably then, it was a corn bread waffle that was to be the first I tried, incorporating sweetcorn, plenty of cheddar, spring onions and chills, it was a pretty good example of a savoury waffle, IMHO, which I served with avocado and bacon. Guacamole might have been preferable had I any inclination to make it.

Next I fancied sweet potato, muscovado sugar and jalapeño waffles, made with spelt flour. Typically, I teased out the sweet/savoury pairing, serving with spicy mini chorizos and  plenty of drizzled honey. With butter. Salted.

Spelt & pecan, banana bread waffles were screaming out for streaky bacon & butter, whilst banana, tahini and cardamom ones were a solid pairing for the rhubarb and blood orange jam I made at one of Newton & Pott‘s classes.

Then, I had an idea that pushed all others aside whilst I furiously grated potato and shallots and cheese. It occurred to me that this waffle maker was merely a great, non stick,  squishing and heating device similar to a toastie maker, simply waffle in shape. I’d wager you could make mighty fine rosti or hash browns etc etc

Turns out, I was not remotely the first person to come to this conclusion, as a swift googling will always and quickly reveal. Hey ho.

However it is really as simple as I’d hoped. The machine I have is quite deep and my first attempt taught me that you need to stuff the middles full, if not all the way to the edges, in order to get an even pressure on both sides. Other than that it was as simple as mixing everything together, and sandwiching for a good few minutes.

Below was simply potato, shallot, a spoonful of butter and comte with seasoning and below that, a messy version for brunch with chilli fried egg and smoked sausage. Sweet potato also a good variation.

It’s fair to say I’ve yet to exhaust possibilities but I’m declaring the following my pièce de résistance.

Potato, Wild Garlic & Pistachio Pesto & Gruyere Hash Brown

Grate 3 or 4 baby spuds per person, scrubbed but skin on and then squeeze out as much water as possible using a tea towel over the sink. Grate in a good chunk of Gruyere cheese, to taste. Stir through pesto (I just blitzed together wild garlic with pistachios, olive oil & seasoning) or just chopped wild garlic and a spoon full of melted butter. Heat for a good 7 minutes until the edges are crispy. This is where the Sage machine has a lovely feature to add ‘a bit more’ cooking time until you’re satisfied the waffles/hash browns are perfectly done.

And ta da – what’s not to love about giant, aggressively garlicky, crispy edged, cheese filled hash brown? Nothing is what.

I am WAY more into waffle hash browns than I am into waffles, if that wasn’t clear.

I’m starting to look like a waffle now, so taking a breather whilst a travel a little over the next month or so. If I’m not inspired by my wanderings (unlikely) then I still have, jotted in my notes…

Brown Butter Doughnut Waffles

Funfetti Cake Batter Waffles

Dhaal Brunch Waffles

Nduja and Honey Waffle

Waffle cheese Toastie

Hash Brown Waffle Cheese Toastie

I think you get the gist – I promise, they continue to get more ridiculous…..


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