I’m happy to announce that Latke season is here! To make the most of what we have, we try to delay our use of our stored vegetables each fall until I have very little fresh produce coming from the garden. Then, there is a moment every year, when I have to admit that our meal options are limited unless I actually dig in to the larder. At the top of the list of vegetables I am eager to prepare again are potatoes!
This year we have Yukon Gold potatoes. Sow True Seed offers Maine Certified Seed Potatoes and ours were pure potato perfection — even with the high level of late blight disease pressure we had all summer. They have held up well in storage, especially important since they are such an early season variety.
We delight in their buttery flavor fresh out of the ground and after curing we restrain ourselves until late fall when I finally declare, “Latke season has commenced!” Yukon Golds are great for latkes because of their high starch content. However, they do need to prepared by salting and squeezing out moisture because they have a higher water content than the Russets often recommended in latke recipes.
The other varieties offered by Sow True Seed are Red Pontiac, a widely-adapted variety good for home gardeners with a lovely red color. Sow True Seed also offers Kennebec, a russet-type potato good for storage that is also resistant to late blight.
Remember to always buy certified disease free seed potatoes to prevent the buildup of disease in the home garden. Then rest easy, watch them grow and enjoy the harvest whichever way you like best.
Here’s our recipe for Latkes taken from Ruth Reichel’s The Gourmet Cookbook and also found at Epicurious.com:
Yield: Makes 12 to 16 latkes
Active Time: 45 min
Total Time: 45 min
1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce
Preheat oven to 250°F. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.
Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. 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.
·Latkes may be made up to 8 hours ahead. Reheat on a rack set over a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, about 5 minutes.
·Grating the potatoes, soaking them briefly in water, and then squeezing out the liquid (as we’ve done here) keeps the batter from turning brown too quickly.