Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘latkes’

Hannukah is upon us. We can tell because when we walk into our kitchen the smell of potatoes being cooked in hot oil is heavy in the air. The latke-making has begun!!! We made 300 last week for our Latke To-Go orders. Turns out the only thing people love more than these little fried potato treats is not having to make them in their own kitchen!

sweetpot latkes

I am far from a purist when it comes to classic dishes. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m genetically incapable of following a recipe exactly as written — I’m always adding a bit more of this or that. But when it comes to latkes, there is nothing I love more than a simple, crispy fritter made from four humble ingredients: potato, onion, flour and egg. I don’t even need applesauce on top. Just a sprinkle of salt and I’m good.

However, because I just can’t help myself, I decided to try to make a sweet potato version just for fun. I thought it would be nice to offer variety at one of our holiday parties — something a little sweeter and with some brighter flavors. I added some orange zest to the sweet potato and topped them with a quick scallion relish and tangy creme fraiche — they were a hit!! So in the interest of changing up holiday traditions, here is our recipe for a different kind of latke. Everyone is sure to love them but you’d better make some traditional latke, too, just in case 🙂

Sweet Potato Latkes with Scallion Relish and Creme Fraiche

makes about 30 pieces

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon salt

canola oil, for frying

for the topping:

3/4 cup finely sliced scallions, whites & greens

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablepsoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 cup creme fraiche

Place the potatoes in a thick paper towel (or clean kitchen towel) and squeeze out any excess liquid. Place in a large bowl and add the sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt. Toss until well combined. Pour about 1/2-inch of oil into a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a tiny bit of the potato mixture into the middle of the pan. If it sizzles, you are ready to go!

Place spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and flatten slightly with a spatula. Cook until golden on the bottom and carefully flip (I like to use tongs for this.). Cook until browned on the second side and remove onto a paper towel. Continue to cook in batches until all the batter is cooked. Place the latkes in a 350 degree oven to heat back up if needed.

In a small bowl, combine the scallions, orange zest, lemon juice, honey and chili flakes. Season with a pinch of salt.

To serve, top the latkes with a dollop of creme fraiche and a bit of the relish. Serve immediately.

Happy Hannukah!!

Read Full Post »

We were recently asked to make latkes for a catered event and we were thrilled!  We made over 160 latkes for this all-appetizer party for 50 people, along with 5 other menu items and the latkes were the first thing to go — they were a smash hit. And no wonder — who doesn’t love a crispy pile of potatoes after all? Latkes are one of those foods that, for many, represent family tradition and holiday celebration — and that means that for every family there is a grandmother-approved way of making them and eating them. For some it’s extra crispy, for some it’s soft in the middle, for some it’s smoked salmon, for some it’s applesauce. While we don’t want to step on grandma’s toes, we decided it would be fun to mix it up and offer a variety of toppings for this particular party. So we did latkes with creamy horseradish sauce, watercress sauce and smoked salmon, creme fraiche and caviar, apple-thyme compote and pomegranate-orange relish. The smoked salmon one went first, but I like the apple-thyme compote the best. At the risk of ruffling the feathers of tradition, here are our tips for making the perfect latke, along with a recipe for the watercress sauce that was such a hit. We did one batch with just potatoes and onions and one with some added carrot. In the end, they all tasted the same and you couldn’t really see the orange of the carrot. I’ve done a version with all butternut squash before that were pretty and delicious — a nice alternative to the original.

1. SHRED WITH SPEED – While there’s nothing wrong with using a traditional box grater, there is nothing like hand grating 10 pounds of potatoes to make you never want to cook again. And we are against anything that makes cooking harder than it needs to be. So may we suggest pulling out those grating disks that came with your Cuisinart (or other food processor) that are on a bottom shelf somewhere collecting dust. This is their time to shine. Remove the standard blade from your food processor and replace with the largest grating blade and the whole grating part of this recipe will take under 5 minutes.

2. MOISTURE IS THE ENEMY – Whenever the goal is making something golden brown, moisture is not your friend. This poses a problem when working with vegetables that have a lot of natural water in them, like potatoes. The key to the perfect latke is drying your potatoes before you continue with the recipe. To do this, we like to use a clean, dust-free kitchen towel. Simply dump the freshly grated potatoes in the towel, bundle together and squeeze over the sink. You’ll be surprised to see about a cup of liquid come out. Do this in batches until all of the potatoes are dry before mixing in the other ingredients.

3. DON’T SKIMP ON THE OIL – Sorry, folks, but this is not a low-fat recipe. It’s fried. That’s what makes it delicious. So don’t try to get away with a few squirts from an olive oil spray bottle. You’ll need a solid 1/4-inch of oil on the bottom of the pan to get these to golden perfection.

4. BE CAREFUL. THIS IS HOT OIL WE’RE TALKING ABOUT – May seem obvious but it just takes one burn from a splatter of hot oil to ruin your day. Our advice is to use tongs to gently turn over the latkes – they allow you much more control than a spatula.

4. SEASON TWICE – If there was one single tip we could give you that could turn your home-cooked food from just OK to fantastic, it’s to learn to season correctly. This means using salt and pepper at multiple times during a recipe. For this one, you’ll add salt into the mix AND sprinkle some salt and pepper on the latkes when they come out of the pan. This ensures the flavors are all balanced. There’s nothing worse than a bland latke.

TRADITIONAL LATKES

makes about 2 dozen

4 large russet potatoes, peeled

1 onion, peeled

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1 tablespoon salt

vegetable oil for cooking

Grate the potatoes and onions using the largest grating blade in your food processor. Use a clean kitchen towel to squeeze the vegetables dry in batches. Dump all of the dry veggies into a large bowl and add the flour, eggs and salt. Use your hands to mix together until well combined.

Add about 1/4-inch of vegetable oil to a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. To see if the oil is hot enough, drop a couple strands of potato into the oil – if it sizzles immediately, you’re ready to go.

Drop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time into the oil creating little piles (don’t spread the piles too thin or they will fall apart when you try to turn them). Once golden on the first side (about 3 minutes), use tongs to gently turn over and cook until golden on the other side.

Remove and place on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with your favorite topping.

NOTE: Latkes do not hold well overnight. If you want to make them before serving, your best bet is to make them same day and let them sit at room temperature. Before serving, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven and cook for 5 minutes until sizzling hot. If you have extra cooked latkes, they freeze nicely. Place them on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, combine them in a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer for up to a couple months. To reheat, place directly from freezer on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until sizzling hot.

WATERCRESS SAUCE 

makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup watercress leaves

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup fresh dill

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve latkes with a dollop of this sauce and a small piece of smoked salmon.

Read Full Post »