Shred 4 potatoes on a box grater; using cheesecloth or paper towels, squeeze out excess liquid. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, and drop 1/4 cup of shredded potatoes into pan. Flatten with the back of a spatula, and fry eight minutes on each side until golden brown.
If desired, add shredded shallots or onions, chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme or parsley, or salt and pepper to the shredded potato mixture. To keep the hash browns warm, place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels in an oven preheated to 175 F.
Hash browns can be cooked based on personal preference: thicker patties will be crispy on the outside with a softer center, while thinner patties will be crispy throughout. It is not necessary to cook the hash browns in small patties. Instead, you can spread the hash browns 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick in the skillet, completely covering the bottom of the pan. Cook until they are golden brown on the bottom, and then flip as one piece or cut in halves or quarters and flip. Continue cooking until golden brown on all sides.
An alternative to frying hash browns is to cook them in a waffle iron. Shred 1 pound of potatoes, season to taste and add 2 beaten eggs. Preheat the waffle iron, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Scoop potato mixture onto waffle iron and cook until crispy, which is typically for five to eight minutes.