How to Make Latkes and New Ways to Top Them
Add a fun touch to your yearly latkes with these colorful toppings.
Whether you've made latkes from scratch before, or this year marks your very first time putting them together, the beautiful and golden potato pancakes are a must-have for any Hanukkah celebration. Made from a lovely mixture of grated potatoes, egg and flour (or matzo meal), latkes are pretty easy to put together. Eating just one — now that's a whole other story. If you're looking for a fun way to upgrade traditional latkes this holiday season, give one or all of these delicious topping suggestions from Food Network Kitchen's very own Steve Jackson a try. Comforting and unique, you'll want them on your table for all of Hanukkah's eight nights.
How to Make Latkes:
1: Peel 2 large russet potatoes; grate the potatoes and 1 small onion on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a large colander set over a bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, firmly squeeze the mixture to remove as much liquid as possible. Blot dry with paper towels.
2: In a large bowl, stir together the grated potato mixture, 1 beaten egg and 1/3 cup matzo meal or flour; stir until combined. Form into tightly packed 2-inch pancakes and place on a paper towel–lined baking sheet.
3: Heat 1/4 inch rendered chicken fat or vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Working in batches, fry the latkes until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a rack set on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Keep warm in a 250˚ F oven.
Chose Your Favorite Topping Combination:
Fennel-Apple (pictured above, starting from the far left): toss thinly sliced fennel and julienned apple with lemon juice and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Pile on the latkes and top with fennel fronds.
Spicy Ricotta: Heat honey with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Top the latkes with a spoonful of ricotta and drizzle with the spicy honey.
Giardiniera: Pile chopped drained giardiniera on the latkes and top with small slices of beef salami.
Hummus-Olive: Spread hummus on the latkes. Top with chopped pitted kalamata olives and chopped parsley. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil.
Egg Salad: Spoon egg salad onto the latkes, then top with chopped chives, dill and salmon roe.
Pastrami: Top the latkes with a small slice of pastrami, warmed sauerkraut and a dot of spicy brown mustard.
Cucumber-Yogurt: Mix plain yogurt with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Spoon onto the latkes. Top with za’atar, chopped cilantro and thinly sliced Persian cucumber.
Gravlax and Creme Fraiche: Top the latkes with a slice of gravlax, creme fraiche, beet horseradish and thinly sliced scallions.
Nacho: Top the latkes with warmed refried beans, shredded cheddar, sliced pickled jalapenos, sour cream and thinly sliced scallions.
Introduction written by Michelle Baricevic for FoodNetwork.com.
Recipes developed for Food Network Magazine by Steve Jackson.
Photograph by Ralph Smith.