Friday, November 23, 2012
Homemade Latkes with Applesauce and Chive-Lox Sauce
You know the scene in The Boondock Saints where David Della Rocco launches into an impressive stream of profanity, after the brothers kill a bunch of people? (Here's a clip. Probably NSFW unless you work with people who curse a LOT.)
Well, imagine me in that scene instead of Rocco, and instead of me being surrounded by dead bodies, imagine wet slippery potatoes and hot oil. Allow me to explain...this recipe was a colossal pain in the butt to make. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm 100% Shiksa and trying to make Hanukkah food, and the majority of my knowledge about the holiday came from watching Rugrats. I made the biggest mess I have ever made while cooking. Potato skins and shreds were everywhere. I somehow went through an entire roll of paper towels. My bad, Earth. At one point I caught air when I skidded on an oil slick. To be fair, these aren't hard to make, they're just super messy. I literally dropped no less than 47 f-bombs during the time it took me to make these. Much like Rocco, I effectively illustrated the diversity of the word, and probably terrified and offended my neighbors in the process.
However, much like a mother forgets the pain of childbirth (or so I'm told) and is willing to do it again because babies are awesome, I've already forgotten the spectacular mess of making these, and would do it again in a heartbeat. I love these latkes, like they are my greasy, carb-filled spawn. Those of you who have actually given birth may hate me now for comparing the pain of latke making to baby birthing.
Like many things I cook, the desire to make these at home first came about a year ago, when I had some truly terrible latkes at a diner. I don't think the cook had ever eaten a latke in his life, because there were literally shreds of potato mixed into a traditional pancake batter. What the heck is that? Not edible, I can tell you that much. These latkes, however, are more than just edible. They are phenomenal. They're perfectly crisp, and with barely any filler to hold together the potatoes, they are not remotely in danger of tasting like the monstrosity I had at the aforementioned diner.
I know everyone is probably still stuffed from Thanksgiving festivities yesterday, but I highly recommend that you make a little more room in your stomach for a batch of these.
Here's what you'll need:
For the lox sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
3 ounces lox, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
For the applesauce:
1 cup chunky applesauce
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
For the latkes:
4 Russet Potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
1 yellow onion, minced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and pepper
Oil for frying (I used half canola and half olive)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet, and set aside.
Mix together the sauce ingredients in separate bowls. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the latkes.
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Using the large holes on a grater, shred the peeled potatoes into the water. Using a fine mesh sieve, drain the potatoes in batches, and rinse under cold running water. Drain again thoroughly, pressing against the sieve to remove as much water from the potatoes as possible. In batches, transfer the potatoes to a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze to remove even more water, and then place the potato shreds in a large bowl.
Place the minced onion into a double layer of paper towels, and gently squeeze to remove the moisture. Add the onions to the bowl. Add the eggs, flour, chives, and garlic. Salt and pepper the mixture, and stir to mix well. I didn't precisely measure how much salt and pepper I used, and the original recipe did not specify an amount. It's really hard to over-salt potatoes in my opinion. Taste one of the latkes after you fry up the first round, and if it needs more salt add it in - that's what I did.
In a large frying pan, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat. Depending on your stove, it will take about 5 minutes to get hot enough for frying. To test it, drop a tiny bit of latke mixture in, and if it immediately starts sizzling, you're good to go. Using your hands, scoop up some potato mixture and form into into a golf ball size ball. Squeeze it over the sink to remove excess moisture. Gently flatten the ball into a pancake as thin as possible. Place into the hot oil, and repeat for 2-3 more latkes. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer the cooked latkes to the wire rack, and place in the preheated oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture until all latkes are cooked. Serve immediately with the sauces. I think I got 17 latkes out of this that were about 2.5-3 inches in diameter each.
Source: Adapted from This is a Cookbook: Recipes For Real Lifeby Max & Eli Sussman. (Great cookbook in case you were wondering - a lot of simple recipes, written by two very funny, adorable guys who I now have a creepy cookbook crush on.)
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