1 3/4 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 slices bacon
1 1/4 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped red onion (1 medium)
4 eggs — lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Peel and coarsely shred potatoes. Place potatoes in a large bowl; add enough water to cover potatoes. Stir well. Drain in a colander set over the sink. Repeat rinsing and draining two or three times until water runs clear. Drain again, pressing out as much water as you can with a rubber spatula. Line a salad spinner with paper towels; add potatoes and spin.* Repeat, if necessary, until potatoes are dry. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Sprinkle potatoes with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper, tossing to combine.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet** heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and the butter over medium-high heat until butter foams. Add potatoes to the skillet, spreading into an even layer. Gently press with the back of a spatula to form a cake. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, without stirring, about 12 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown and crisp.
Place a baking sheet or cutting board over the top of the skillet. Carefully invert the skillet to transfer the potatoes to the baking sheet. If needed, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Using the baking sheet, slide the potatoes back into the skillet, uncooked side down. Cook about 8 minutes more or until the bottom is golden brown.
Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan or plate. Use the baking sheet to transfer hash browns to pie pan, pressing hash browns into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.
In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the drippings. Crumble bacon; set aside. Cook zucchini and onion in the reserved drippings over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender but not brown.
In a large bowl combine eggs, half-and-half, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the crushed red pepper. Stir in bacon and zucchini mixture. In a small bowl combine shredded cheese and flour. Add to egg mixture; mix well.
Pour egg mixture into the hash-brown lined pie pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
*Tip: If desired, instead of using a salad spinner, potatoes can be dried by pressing the water out with a potato ricer or by patting the shredded potatoes dry with paper towels.
**Tip: A skillet with sloping sides works particularly well.