February 28, 2020

Molly Yeh’s Potato Latkes and a Schmaltzy Side

There are those who like their latkes with applesauce and those who serve them with sour cream. Molly Yeh of Food Network’s “Girl Meets Farm” likes them both ways. But this year on the Food Network series’ holiday episode, the Jewish host prepared the potato pancakes with a side she calls “a schmaltzy applesauce.” Try it for yourself, and tune in on Dec. 21 to see Yeh host the inaugural “Ultimate Hanukkah Challenge,” a Food Network competition in which four chefs put their own spins on latkes, brisket and sufganiyot.

Gerri Miller, contributing writer

Molly Yeh’s Potato Latkes with Carmelized Onion Sour Cream

Caramelized onion sour cream:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Black pepper
Chopped scallions, for topping

Potato latkes:
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, shredded
2 medium yellow onions, shredded
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 large eggs
Black pepper
4 scallions, chopped
Flavorless oil, for frying
Flaky or kosher salt, for sprinkling

For the caramelized onion sour cream:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Let cool.

Mix together the onion mixture, sour cream, onion powder, a few grinds of black pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

For the potato latkes:

Meanwhile, using the shredding attachment on a food processor (or mandoline), shred the potatoes, onions and garlic.

Line a colander with 2 layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl or in the sink. Place the shredded mixture on top of the cheesecloth and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Let sit for 30 to 45 minutes. 

Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and use your hands to squeeze out any excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, eggs, a few grinds of black pepper and the potato mixture. Stir in the scallions.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering; it’s ready when a strand of potato added to the oil immediately starts to sizzle.

Use a 1/2-cup ice cream scoop to add compact scoops of the mixture to the oil, spacing them out so as not to crowd the pan. Press the scoops down lightly with a spatula to get 1/2-inch-thick patties.

Fry until golden brown on both sides, a few minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towels and sprinkle with flaky or kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed between batches. 

Sprinkle the caramelized onion sour cream with chopped scallions and serve with the warm latkes. 

Makes 12 latkes.