I think potato latkes are pretty amazing. They basically require only one ingredient - a potato - and provide a satisfying dish in almost no time. Just grate, shape, and sauté for about 5 minutes on each side. All you need to do is follow a few basic rules: Use high temperature, don’t crowd the pan, and blot excess oil with paper towels before serving.
But lately I’ve been craving variety in my latkes. I’ve achieved it in three ways: Adding ingredients to the grated potato before forming into cakes, topping the completed latkes with various goodies, and sandwiching a filling between two latkes before cooking.
Here are my favorites:
The Spinach/Mushroom/Potato Latke
To one grated potato in a bowl, add about 2 oz. of chopped spinach that’s been sautéed until wilted and then squeezed dry; three mushrooms of any kind, diced and sautéed with 2 tablespoons shallots in a little olive oil until slightly browned; 1 TBS. of lemon juice; 1/2 TBS. of soy sauce; salt and pepper to taste. Form into 1/2”-thick cakes, leaving behind any accumulated liquid. Sauté until nicely browned, for about 4-5 minutes on each side, in 1 TBS. olive oil, over medium high heat.
The Latke with Sour Cream and Lox on top
This one is a no-brainer. Make a basic latke. When serving, top with sour cream and lox. If you want fancy, add caviar, minced fresh dill, chopped chives, or Kalamata olives.
The Latke Sandwich
Grate potatoes and separate into two piles of thin pancakes. Cover one half with some crumbled goat cheese and top with chopped chives or scallions. Cover the cheese with a second pancake, pressing a little to compress it all together. Sauté on both sides in a little olive oil. If you like, serve on a salad of tomato, olives, and arugula.