I love the latke, and who doesn’t? All crispy and crackly with sizzling onions
right out of the pan, the latke holds such promise. And then the whole thing
goes right out the window for me when topped with jarred, beige, boring
All the time spent making delicious latkes just seems wasted to me
when topped with something that is not as equally delicious.
This Hanukka, I am
celebrating the latke topper. I have come up with modern versions of the classic
applesauce and some new toppers as well. This year the latke topper gets the
much needed makeover.
I only use egg whites for my latkes. Think about it. Yolks
make doughs and batters tender and cakey. I want my latkes crispy and crunch
(all the better for holding up to some toppings). My latkes are crispy and stay
that way longer. Save the yolks for your cakey doughnuts. Chef Laura’s basic latke
3 cups peeled and grated Russet potatoes
1 large Spanish onion-peeled and
2 egg whites-lightly beaten
All-purpose flour about ¼-1/2cup
Neutrally oil for frying-about 3-4 cups (prefer canola or peanut oil)
1. Place the shredded potatoes in a bowl of ice cold water *(this helps keep
them from turning rust colored). Let the potatoes sit for about 15
2. Place a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat.
Fill the pan with oil to a depth of about 2 inches.
3. Remove the
potatoes from the water. Squeeze as much water as possible by wrapping the
potatoes in a towel. Squeeze all of the moisture out of the onion in the same
manner. Then, add the onion and eggs. Add enough flour to bind the mixture but
not make it too firm. Season with salt and pepper
4. When the oil has reached
350 degrees, scoop the latke mixture with an ice cream scoop or large spoon and
gently drop into the oil. Fry until golden brown and turn to fry the other side.
Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
5. The latkes can be made several
hours before serving and can be reheated in a 400 degree oven on a sheet pan
until crispy. Serve with applesauce or the following
No boring applesauce here. This latke
topper is brightly colored and slightly tart.
I have been making this
garnet-colored applesauce for years. It is a perfect complement for the crispy
latkes. When my kids were younger, I made large batches of this healthy sauce
and served it for snacks.
Yields-1 ½-2 quarts applesauce
6 Granny Smith (or
favorite variety) apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1-cup fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
½ cup apple cider or juice
Pinch of kosher salt
all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook uncovered over medium heat
until the cranberries pop. Continue cooking until the excess moisture
evaporates. The applesauce may be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to
one week or frozen for up to 2 months.Pomegranate-Ginger applesauce
love all things pomegranate and use my favorite pomegranate molasses to make
vinaigrettes, marinades and glazes. The tart, faintly sweet flavor is the
perfect foil for fresh out of the pan and slightly greasy latkes (I mean that in
a good way). The addition of ginger adds a sharp citrusy, pepper note that just
makes the apples burst with flavor. I top my latkes with pomegranate arils
(seeds) for extra crunch and dash of bling!
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
cup apple juice or water
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Pinch of salt
of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
arils, candied ginger
1. Cook the apples, sugar, ginger and apple juice or
water, uncovered over medium heat until the apples are soft and the moisture has
2. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, salt and lemon juice. Store the
applesauce, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze up to two
months.Horseradish and wasabi salmon schmear
When I want my latkes to be
a little more dressed up, I whip up this quick topper. Smoked Salmon and crispy
potatoes are a match made in culinary heaven. I kick up the schmear with
horseradish and then decorate the whole thing with a wasabi pea and salmon roe.
This latke is perfect anytime of the year and is perfect for brunch or as a hors
3 ounces Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon, chopped finely
shallot, minced finely
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
mayonnaise (homemade or purchased)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped
Freshly cracked pepper
Garnishes: wasabi peas, fresh dill, salmon
roe, caviar, crème fraiche (for dairy preparations), chopped chives, scallions
1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a food processor. Pulse several
times until the mixture is combined, but still has some texture.
Dollop the schmear on latkes fresh out of frying pan and garnish as desired.
Store the schmear, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Mixed olive tapenade
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
¼ cup pitted cracked green olives
1 clove garlic-chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Extra Virgin olive oil 2 anchovy filets (optional)
Salt and Pepper
1. Place all of the above ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the
mixture is combined but still chunky. Adjust seasoning.Muhummara
delicious condiment makes a great dip, crust for fish or poultry and perfect
topper for the latkes
2 red peppers-roasted
1 cup walnuts-toasted
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1 cup fresh bread crumbs-left over
challah is perfect
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoons chili flakes
teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cumin seed
Salt and pepper
pomegranate arils, chopped parsley
1. Place all of the ingredients in a food
processor and pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth. You may need to add more
Extra Virgin olive oil to adjust the consistency.
2. Place in a container
and cover the surface of the muhummara with plastic wrap to prevent it from
drying out. The muhummara can be kept covered for up to five days in the
refrigerator.Corned beef hash
Well, why not? Corned Beef hash
traditionally has potatoes in it, so why not gild the lily with a modern version
of the classic deli item?
1 large red onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic,
3 ounces lean corned beef, chopped
½ cup finely chopped dill pickle
tablespoon favorite hot sauce
Garnishes; thin pickle slice, chopped parsley
Sauté the onion in a lightly greased pan over medium high heat until it is dark
brown and caramelized. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes
until the garlic has softened and is fragrant.
2. Pulse ¼ cup of the
onion mixture in the food processor until it is completely chopped but with some
texture remaining. Transfer the onion to a mixing bowl.
3. Add all of the
remaining ingredients and fold together. Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of
Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.
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