What’s for brunch during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival Of Lights?
Latke is the Yiddish word for a pancake made from grated potatoes. Some call it a potato pancake; but “latke” is original word*.
The name comes from the East Slavic oladka, “small fried pancake.” That in turn derives from Hellenistic Greek for olive oil.
And that comes around to why latkes are served at Hanukkah: to celebrate the miracle of the oil.
> Potato Latke History
As far back as the 1960s, the biggest latke variation was the the condiment: applesauce or sour cream,
In the last few decades, creative chefs have riffed on the recipe.
The first—and easy—addition was smoked salmon. Even fancier, smoked salmon and crème fraîche. And fancier still, a garnish of caviar (photo #3).
Then came sweet potato latkes.
Next, other root vegetables were substituted for the potatoes: beet, carrot, celery root.
Cauliflower and butternut squash also make an appearance.
How about fusion latkes: global flavors like garam masala latkes, harissa and kimchi latkes.
See more latke recipes below.
Shapes! The latke “pie” variation (recipe below—photo #1) and latke stacks (photo #2) are small variations.
But how about latke fries (photo #4)?
POTATO LATKE PIE (POTATO PANCAKE PIE)
Latkes and smoked salmon have long been a loving pair.
But this recipe from Wegmans adds an easy spin we haven’t seen before: sandwiching the latkes with smoked salmon and cream cheese, and slicing them like a pie (or maybe, a sandwich?).
Prep time is 20 mins, cook time is 40 minutes.
If you want to get frisky, use scallion or olive cream cheese.
Note: We used double the smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner (especially a brisket dinner).
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. RINSE the potatoes in large bowl of cold water, changing the water 3-4 times until it runs clear. Drain.
2. COMBINE the potatoes with the onion, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
3. HEAT the oil in a 12-inch nonstick pan on medium, until the oil faintly smokes. Divide the potato mixture into 2 portions to fry in batches.
4. SCOOP the mixture in oil, flattening each with the spatula into a 6-inch circle. You will be making four latkes per batch.
Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, pressing down on the pancakes with the spatula as they cook, to maintain their shape. Cook until the latkes are crisp and golden brown.
5. DRAIN the latkes on paper towels. Then spread one side of each with cream cheese and top with smoked salmon. Top with a second latke. Cut into wedges for serving.
MORE LATKE RECIPES
> THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF POTATOES
*The word latke is not of Hebrew origin, but from the Yiddish language of Eastern European Jews. In Modern Hebrew, the word is levivah, a word used in the Book of Samuel to describe a dumpling made from kneaded dough—not exactly a potato latke! [source].
 Latke “pie” filled with smoked salmon and cream cheese. The recipe is below. (photo © Wegmans).
 You can make a latke stack with smoked salmon and cream cheese, or any other filling. This stack is filled with Lobster Thermidor (photo © Flavor And The Menu)!
 Feeling rich? Add salmon caviar. Feeling very rich? Add sturgeon caviar. Here’s the recipe from Earthly Delights Blog (photo © Earthly Delights Blog).
 Latke fries at The Tuck Room (photo © The Tuck Room | NYC).
 Beet latkes. Here’s the recipe from Williams Sonoma (photo © Williams Sonoma).
 Carrot scallion latkes. Here’s the recipe from Elana’s Pantry (photo © Elana’s Pantry).