In Matt’s last post he suggested that people suggest things for us to write about, and they did. One of the suggestions was a recipe for rosti, which this isn’t, but it’s close. It’s a recipe for potato latkes, the Jewish grated potato cakes that are eaten at Hanukkah and they’re something I cook frequently, and a recipe which I often vary by the addition of cheese and or chilli and sometimes other grated vegetables like courgette or sweet potato. The basic principle applies whatever ingredients you opt for – namely adding salt to draw out the moisture and then squeezing out as much liquid as possible before making the mixture to fry. Whereas a rosti uses almost exclusively potato and onion, latkes have a little egg and flour added to their mix making them closer to a pancake, but they’re just as crispy and golden on the outside and juicy within.
These tasty little (or big) morsels of chiefly potato and onion are perfect with a poached or fried egg for breakfast. They’re wonderful with a piece of smoked fish, and they’re equally delicious made in advance and left to go cold for a lunch. We’ll sometimes do them instead of sandwiches for school packed lunches.
Potato Latkes (5-6 small ones, or 3 big ones)
1 large potato (baking potato size, grated with the skin still on)
1 small onion (peeled and very thinly sliced)
1 clove garlic (same as the onion)
1 dessertspoon self-raising flour
salt and pepper
Grate the potato straight into a colander and sprinkle generously with salt before placing over a bowl to catch the water that will drain out once the salt gets to work. While that’s happening slice the onion and the garlic.
After ten minutes or so take handfuls of the potato and squeeze them hard over the sink to extract as much liquid as possible before dropping into a mixing bowl. Add the onion, garlic, flour and egg and a generous grind of black pepper (no more salt though) and mix the lot together with a fork.
Pour a generous glut of oil into a decent frying pan and once it’s hot add spoonfuls of the mixture to make small latkes, or alternatively add a few spoonfuls and form into one large latke (that’s what I did for the one illustrated above). Flatten them and let them fry for 3 minutes or so being careful not to burn before flipping them and doing the other side. As they’re cooked they can be transferred to a medium oven to finish cooking.