The classic potato latke gets a makeover!
Made with shallots instead of onions, these potato latkes are delicate and slightly sweet. Served with a dollop of apple confit spiked with Calvados, and a buttery, crispy sage leaf, each mouthful of these latkes yields an explosion of flavor.
These potato latkes were not only the dish of honor for the Hanukkah feature I wrote for the 2010 holiday issue of Rockland Magazine, they also made the cover!
I don’t know about you, but I’ll be making – and eating – these long after the holidays.
Food & drink pairing: Normandy, sparkling hard cider with potato latkes and apple confit
To enhance the apple flavors of the confit, I love to serve these latkes with a hard sparkling cider. Try one from Normandy in France, or from the many new small producers in the U.S. – like this cider from Bonny Doon Vineyard.
Potato latkes with apple confit and crispy sage
makes 32 large latkes
active time: 40 min
For the latkes
- 1 1/4 lbs (565 g) russet potatoes
- 6 large shallots – skinned, halved and cut lengthwise in 1/8″ slices (2 1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 extra large eggs – lightly beaten
For the apple confit
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 golden apples – peeled, cored, quartered and cut in 1/4″ slices
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons Calvados or apple brandy
For the crispy sage
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 32 medium fresh sage leaves
- olive oil for the pan
- Step 1: Peel the potatoes and cut in 1/16″ julienned slices using a mandoline (about 4 cups). Alternatively, use a medium hand-grater or food processor with shredder attachment. Place the slices in a large bowl and fill bowl with cold water. Set aside for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
- Step 2: For the apple confit – Heat a medium saucepan to medium-high heat. Add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the apple pieces, lemon juice and sugar. Toss well, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer the apples for 5 minutes, until tender. Uncover pot and coarsely mash the apples using a wooden spoon. Add the Calvados and simmer for 1 minute until the liquid has evaporated.
- Step 3: For the crispy sage – Heat a small heavy-bottomed frying pan to medium-high heat. Add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the sage leaves. Toss the leaves so they are well coated with the butter and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until they start to foam up, turn dark-green and become crispy. The leaves mustn’t turn brown or they’ll burn. Transfer to a small plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
- Step 4: To make the latkes – Drain the potato slices and place on a clean kitchen towel. Blot out all moisture and transfer to a large bowl. Add the shallots and toss well. Sprinkle with the flour, salt and pepper. Toss well again. Add the eggs and stir until well blended. Transfer to a colander or medium sieve and suspend over a bowl. Let the potato mixture drain for 15 minutes. This step will make the latkes crispier as the potatoes will lose a lot of moisture.
- Step 5: Heat a large heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to generously cover the pan, about 1/8″. Using a regular fork and spoon, grab a 1/4-cup’s worth of the potato mixture and place in the hot oil. As you grab the potato mixture, shape each latke into a 1 1/2″ x 3″ log. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until golden-brown. Flip the latkes and sauté for another 2 minutes until golden-brown. (You may have to lower the heat as the pan gets hot: the latkes shouldn’t turn brown too fast and the oil should never come to smoking point.) Transfer to a platter lined with a paper towel. Repeat until the potato mixture has all been used up, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
- Cook’s note: For the crispiest latkes, serve them as soon as they are made. However, the latkes can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. To re-heat, place on a jelly roll pan and warm in a 400°F (204ºC) preheated oven for 6 to 7 minutes until sizzling and proceed with step 6.
- Step 6: Place the latkes on a platter. Spoon a dollop of the apple confit on top of each latke. Garnish with a crispy sage leaf and serve immediately.