It’s Day 28 of COVID-19 shelter-in-place and we’re all slowly losing our minds! Well, not completely, we’re all okay here, but being cooped up indoors has made me restless beyond belief. The one upside is that all the idle time indoors means I can now try every overly complicated, time-consuming recipe I want! Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be posting my experimental, from-scratch cooking to share with you all.
To start, I wanted to make latkes from scratch. Though I am currently home in the Bay, my favorite neighborhood brunch spot (the only one I go to, really) in Boston is Zaftigs Delicatessen, which serves the best eggs benedict I’ve ever had. They call it the “Empire Eggs”— a perfect poached egg atop smoked salmon, spinach, and a crispy homemade latke, all doused in creamy hollandaise. Once I had this dish from Zaftigs, I became convinced that every eggs benedict should be on a latke instead of a lowly English muffin. In the past, I’ve made an approximation of a latke benedict with Trader Joe’s frozen latkes (pictured below), but it was never quite as good.
This simple version with the frozen latkes was perfectly serviceable and felt like a valiant attempt at a fancier home breakfast, but I had an itch to go all the way. When Binging with Babish posted his video making latkes, I knew I had to try it.
Here is the recipe that I followed, essentially exactly. I ended up using 4 eggs like he does in the video to better bind the mixture. One tip that I do have is that getting the formed patties to the hot oil is very difficult without tools, so I’d recommend using a metal spatula to just pick it up and ease it in the frying oil. The frying also took less time in my experience, but that may vary depending on your stove.
I was pretty surprised by how easy these turned out to be— they required minimal ingredients and prep and were simple and delicious. After all, it’s pretty difficult to mess up fried potatoes. As shown in the recipe, these are a great base for all kinds of toppings, but my commitment to perfecting the latke benedict meant I had to top them with a slice of smoked salmon and a delicate poached egg. By this point, all I wanted was to eat, so making hollandaise seemed to only serve as a barrier to my end goal. However, if you want to go the extra step, I always use this blender hollandaise recipe to impeccable results. It was delicious without, though, and I’ll definitely be making these latkes again.