Dec 31, 2016


© 2016 All rights reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

The rich tapestry of Jewish cooking finally reached my born in the farmland of Northern Illinois consciousness in the town of Boca Raton where many transplanted New Yorkers came to escape the winters but also hold fast to many of their delicious culinary traditions. Latkes don’t have to only accompany applesauce. They are brilliant canapé holders for many ingredients. My mother and grandmother taught me to appreciate them with caviar. Every chance I get I honor their custom. A near frozen shot of Vodka is my choice to wash it down.

Yield: 12 latkes but can be doubled.

Preheat oven to 350º if you need to keep them warm for longer than 10 minutes

2 Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and peeled

1/2 sweet onion, peeled

2-3 large eggs

1/3 Cup potato starch

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

8 scallions, white part mainly, cut crosswise into small rounds, optional

Canola oil to cook the latkes in, as needed

Caviar …. as desired

Shred the potato and onion mixture on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. It is best to shred the potatoes long ways to get long strands of potato. Toss the shredded onion and potato mix to ‘season’ the potatoes with the onion “juices”. Gather the two mixtures up on a large section of rinsed cheesecloth or a kitchen towel. Squeeze as much of the ‘water’ out of them as possible. Squeeze hard! The drier the potato strands the better. Line a platter or a pan with folds of paper toweling. Carefully unwrap the ball of cheesecloth and place the potato and onion mix on the toweling. Fluff them out and gently pull out the strands as you do. Now put the potato and onion mix in a large bowl. Crack the eggs into it. Add in the potato starch, salt, baking powder, black pepper and scallions and mix all together very well. Heat a heavy sauté pan or frying pan. Add in the oil and allow it to come up about 1/8 inch. When the oil is fairly hot form a loose ‘cake’ slightly larger than a silver dollar with the mixture. This can be done with a small ice cream scoop if you have one. Carefully drop the cake down in the hot oil flattening it a bit as you do. Continue to make more cakes taking care not to crowd them. Cook the cakes about 3-5 minutes per side allowing them to become crispy and golden. Remove them to absorbent toweling. Cook all of the latkes until done. Keep them warm in the oven if not serving right away. Place sour cream on each latke. Top with the best caviar the budget will allow. Serve.

Traditionally latkes are also served with a choice of sour cream and applesauce. So if caviar is not your thing…. You can go that route.