Cooking

Fat of the Land

Great schmaltz, and a potato pancake to cook in it
Thomas Odermatt's potato rösti
San Francisco Roli Roti Thomas Odermatt Schmaltz Chicken Fat Potato Rosti

We can't get enough schmaltz—and no, we don't mean Lifetime movies or sappy pop ballads; we're talking golden, savory chicken fat.

Thomas Odermatt, the Swiss-born owner of Roli Roti, had been rendering the fatty trimmings from free-range chickens and giving the schmaltz to a biodiesel company.

But the fat is too good to power vehicles. So now Odermatt is selling schmaltz ($8 for 8 ounces) through Roli Roti's Good Eggs store.

To achieve the purest chicken fat possible, Odermatt slowly cooks the meat in a low-heat oven for a few hours until it yields a pale gold liquid.

Odermatt's 93-year-old father and 84-year-old mother still cook with schmaltz--when they're not hiking in the mountains. He doesn't see anything wrong with using schmaltz in place of olive or canola oil.

The highest and best use of schmaltz may be the Odermatt family recipe for rösti, a shredded-potato pancake. A spoonful of the creamy fat smells neutral until the pan heats up, when a meaty aroma emerges.

Odermatt likes to roast Brussels sprouts in schmaltz, too, and we found it did nothing but good things for roasted potatoes.

Good schmaltz is easy to love.

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