Dec 12, 2012 6:40 PM

Let's Make a Meal: Top Your own Potato Latke Bar

TUCSON - Today on "Let's Make a Meal," Jennifer English, News 4 Tucson's food contributor, stopped by with a favorite Jewish dish: Potato Latke.

Here's what she had to say:

We are smack in the middle of Hanukkah. (And yes it does feel early this year)

The festival of lights is a celebration of the miracle following the Jews battle against King Antiochus. The Jews relighted the sacred temple flame, but they only had enough oil to last one day. But the flame's oil lasted 8 days! A miracle which is celebrated by the lighting of candles for eight nights. Foods cooked in oil are also traditional and the two star dishes are doughnuts and potato latkes. I remember eating my grandmother's lovingly-made potato pancakes and the way the cool sweet applesauce braced against the hot crispy potato. They were so delicious I don't even remember what she served them with, everything else paled next to these crispy gems.

My mother especially loved these and I think of her every time I make them.

Here is my spin on a great seasonal party idea. I do a Top Your own Potato Latke Bar. Everyone likes to participate and try all the different toppings. Latkes are delicious all on their own when they are made crispy and topped simply. Traditional toppings include applesauce, sour cream and even luxurious caviar!. I think a crispy fried potato latke is the perfect base for any number of toppings and when made cocktail bite sized, they allow guests to try all sorts of combinations.

Momma Judy's Favorite Potato Latke Recipe

1 large baking potato (1 pound), peeled
1 small onion (4 ounces), peeled
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Peanut oil or canola oil for frying

In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. Transfer to a colander or wrap in a cheesecloth sling, and squeeze as dry as possible. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze dry again.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potato onion mixture until all pieces are evenly coated.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

Toppings (suggestions: get creative and try anything you can think of that sounds delicious with crispy fried potatoes)

sour cream or plain yogurt
smoked salmon
chopped egg
whitefish salad
sliced brisket
fruit compote
grated cheese
thinly sliced red onion


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