Hanukkah may have ended December 10, but we’re making latkes far into the new year. Why? Because they’re damn tasty and we’re using this recipe from James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya, who leads the modern Israeli restaurant Safta in The Source Hotel in Denver.
“It’s a glorified hash brown,” Shaya says. “Latkes serve as a foundation for so many dishes; during Christmas with sliced roast duck and sautéed mushrooms, leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, or with a poached egg on top as a fancy breakfast for your grandma.”
Shaya’s memories of making latkes with his mom for Hanukkah, especially the act of frying, “have made this dish so important to me.” Shaya’s big twist on the classic recipe? “I use cornstarch instead of flour as a binder because it creates crispier latke.”
Who doesn’t want a crispier latke?
Below, you’ll not only find a fool-proof method for how to make latkes, but you’ll also see recipes for two different toppings for the latkes — salmon roe ikra and apple butter with Turkish chilis.
How to Make Latkes
- 3.75 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and grated
- .5 lbs onion
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1.5 tbsp salt
- 1 bunch green onions
- .5 cup cornstarch
- 7 egg whites, whipped until frothy
- Butter or canola oil for frying
- Grate the russet potatoes and onions through a cheese grater. (The weight of the potatoes and onions in the recipe is after they are grated.)
- Combine grated onion, potato, salt, and lemon juice together and place in a towel over a colander to drain.
- Add weight to the colander to press out any excess liquid. Let sit for 1 hour then ring out the mixture to dry even more.
- Fold whipped egg whites, cornstarch, and green onions into the russet mixture.
- Pan-fry the latkes in thin even layers in clarified butter until golden brown on both sides. Canola oil can be substituted for clarified butter.
Salmon Roe Ikra
- 5 brown anchovy fillets, packed in salt
- 2 lemons
- 1 garlic clove
- .25 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- .25 cup sour cream
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- Salmon roe caviar
- Crush garlic clove and place in a bowl with the juice of 2 lemons. Let sit for 15 minutes, then strain and reserve the juice.
- Place anchovy fillets and lemon juice in a blender and puree together. With blender on medium speed, slowly add extra virgin olive oil to emulsify. Set puree aside.
- Place room temperature cream cheese in a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer and whisk attachment, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Continue to whip on low and add the sour cream until incorporated. Continue to whip on low and slowly add .25 cup of anchovy puree until incorporated.
- Spoon into a serving dish, and garnish with thin sliced shallot and caviar.
Apple Butter with Turkish Chilis
- 6 granny smith apples, skin on and core removed
- .25 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup date molasses (or a dark amber honey)
- .75 tsp baharat or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 tsp urfa biber pepper flakes (can substitute chipotle pepper flakes)
- In a medium saucepan, add apples, vinegar, and enough water to cover the apples only halfway.
- Cook on medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the fruit is falling apart. The skins of the apples should be an army green color.
- Remove from heat and puree in a blender until completely smooth. Start on a low speed to avoid overflowing the blender.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve and place back into the pot.
- Add date molasses and baharat. Cook on low heat for 25 minutes while stirring frequently. The puree should become a dark caramel color.
- Turn off the heat and add the urfa biber pepper and let fully cool until room temperature. Refrigerate.