Of all the smells that hit you when you walk into your local diner, I'm convinced the most discernible part of the waft is always the hash browns.
My favorite breakfast joint growing up was The Melrose Inn. Once or twice a month my Dad would drive me to school, allowing me to skip my long daily bus ride, and the two of us would steal away a few special moments together over an early breakfast. We would drive out of Louisville before the sun came up, headed towards farm country and the little old house that had been converted into a diner, complete with waitresses decked out in matching checkered uniforms and strategically fitted hair nets on top of up-dos. Immediately upon entering the room, that delicious hash brown smell would just slap you in the face and your mouth would start watering.
Grated Russet potatoes, fried the griddle to crispy, crunchy perfection. It doesn't get more simple, inexpensive, or delicious. Even when served as a supporting player to eggs, bacon, pancakes and fruit this recipe takes the staring role in my heart.