It’s almost Chanucah so it’s time for more self-indulgence than self-recrimination.
Back in Britain – and the United States - it’s also time for latkes (deep fried potato cakes) but here in Israel, it’s doughnuts or go very hungry for a week.
In fact, having an instinctive dislike of deep-frying, I’m more than a mite miffed that I’ve not yet seen oven-ready button sized frozen latkes available in Israeli supermarkets like those provided as a Jewish alternative to oven-ready chips by the UK kosher foods manufacturer, Rakusen.
What’s more, as I’m also fed up with “cat’s-in-the-cupboard” jokes – native-Hebrew speakers haven’t a clue to what this alludes - I’m ringing the changes with this latke recipe - a spoof version of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s ‘Double Down Chicken Sandwich’!
The deliciously decadent ingredients include smoked salmon (‘lox’) but as a sea-green vegetarian I suggest that a ripe avocado may substitute very well and that other vegetables like broccoli or swede may be used instead of potato.
There’s also a great idea in the method: The potatoes are kept white by being grated directly into water and then wrung out in a kitchen tea towel. The video makes the process look like a tug-of-war but again I suggest that a “ricer” may be just as effective – what’s more it requires far less effort!
1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon flour or matzo meal (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
grape seed, olive or peanut oil
lox (smoked salmon)
crème fraiche or sour cream
chives or green onion, chopped
chopped lettuce, optional
Preheat oven to 250 deg., F 120 deg., C.
Peel potatoes and coarsely grate directly into a large bowl of cold water.
Soak potatoes one – two minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.
Spread grated potatoes, garlic and onion on a kitchen towel, roll up and wring out as much liquid as possible.
Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt. If it’s too runny add a little flour or matzo meal. Too dry add a little bit more egg.
Heat a large frying plan. Add enough oil to cover the bottom plus a bit more. Get the oil hot but not smoking. Use a spoon to add potato mixture into pan, spreading with the back of the spoon into 3 or 4-inch rounds.
Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are very well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are very well browned, about 5 minutes more. You want walnut brown, not beige.
Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed.
Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.
To make the Double Down, spread crème fraiche on one side of a latke, pile on lox and onions, spread some crème fraiche on another latke, then make into a sandwich.
Good or what?
Other Foodaism fans have written variously and thus:
- ‘… Personally I blame my ancestors for the cholesterol problem …’
- ’ … Excuse me while I barf. Also, it’s difficult enough to find non-kosher creme fraiche, but kosher? I don’t think it exists in the US …’
‘… This is hilarious AND looks fabulous! ….’
With thanks to Rob Eshman, Jay Firestone and gang from Jewish Journal and the Foodaism team.