So excited to share this recipe with you today, these pickle latkes are so bright, sour, tangy and crispy, you’ll just have to go in for another bite, and another bite, and another bite. My favorite pairing for them is apple sauce, or even better, apple butter. The mild sweetness plays so well with the crunchy, sour latke. That said, I wouldn’t say no to dill or horseradish sour cream either. And if you want add some smoked fish on top and you’ve got yourself a full meal.
I had the idea for a tangy, sour latke for quite a while, I’ve been through so many different iterations of this concept, but I finally landed on a recipe I’m happy with. You’ll be surprised by how many pickles you need for them to have an impact on the final result, it’s an almost 1 to 2 ratio for pickles to potatoes. The first time I tested the recipe, I decided to start low with 6 pickles, I could barely taste them in the final result.
Another very important aspect is the way you cut the pickles. Initially, I coarsely grated the pickles, mixed them with in the latke mixture, and surprisingly, you could barely taste them. Grating the potatoes caused them to melt and vanish in the latke, leaving you with a faint, but certainly unsatisfying level of sourness.
After grating them, I tried cutting them into coins. While that cut contributed with enough pickle flavor, the final result looked a little off, plus the latke batter wouldn’t hold together as well. In the end, I concluded that slicing them into matchsticks is key to reaching the pickliest flavor you can get and also the perfect texture. I like to have a variety of matchstick sizes, some stay thicker and juicier when frying, and some get super crispy and sharp in flavor.
One last tip, try using fermented pickles for this, rather than using vinegar pickles. While they’re a bit more expensive, they’ll certainly make a difference in flavor.
Use the remaining brine to make a martini, it pairs perfect with your tower of latkes 🙂
Servings: 10 - 12 latkes
- 3 medium Russet potatoes (1 kg or 2 lbs)
- 1 medium yellow onion (255 g)
- 12 small kosher dill pickles (470 g)
- preferably fermented (rather than quick vinegar pickled), I used Bubbies kosher dill pickles
- 3/4 (90 g) to 1 cup (120 g) bread crumbs or matzo meal
- 2 large eggs
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- Neutral oil for frying, such as sunflower seed oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
- Sour cream, dill and apple sauce or butter for serving
- Place a clean kitchen towel over a large mixing bowl. Grate the potatoes and onion (using the coarse side of your grater) over the towel, in the bowl. Once grated, wrap the towel around the grated potatoes & onions, twist the corners together and squeeze all the liquid out using your hands. Discard the liquid, and place the grated onion and potatoes in the bowl.
- Slice each pickle in fourths lengthwise, then slice each fourth into 5 to 8 mm matchsticks (Julienne cut), you don’t want to slice them too thin, otherwise you won’t be able to taste the pickles in the latkes. I liked having a variety of sizes, some get nice and crunchy, some stay meaty and sour, so aim for that!
- Add the breadcrumbs or matzo meal, eggs, a pinch of salt, cayenne and black pepper. Mix to combine.
- Heat up about 2.5 cm or 1 inch of oil in a shallow pan over medium heat.
- Test to see if the oil is hot enough by adding a bit of the latke mixture to the oil, if it sizzles it’s ready, otherwise, it needs more time. Grab a handful of the latke and squeeze it in your palms to remove any excess liquid. After pressing, roughly shape the latke into a patty, not as thick as a burger patty, not as thin as a smashed burger, keep it somewhere in between. Don’t press the latke too tight together, it doesn’t have to be a perfectly round shape, embrace any wispy edges, they’ll get extra crispy in the oil.
- Place the 3 to 4 latkes at a time in the oil and fry until golden brown on one side, then flip and fry on the other side until golden brown again. You’re looking at about 4 to 5 minutes of frying per side. As always, your stove’s medium might be my stove’s high, so instead of timing the process, focus more on the visual cues. Lower the heat as needed.
- Place a paper towel over a plate or cooling rack. Place the fried latkes on the paper towel to drain any excess oil. Season with salt.
- Fry remaining latke mixture.
- Serve right away with dill sour cream, apple sauce, apple butter or any toppings of choice. Enjoy!