I know, I know. I should be writing about Thanksgiving. It’s the obligatory food blog topic for the entire month of November. How about another riff on the green bean casserole? Or ten fool-proof turkey tips? Stuffing everyone will L-U-V! Pumpkin 18 ways!
No. I just. can’t. do it. If you need some Thanksgiving tips, I’ve listed a few of my tried-and-true sources at the bottom of the post. But for those of you (and you know who you are) who want to eat something OTHER than turkey, you’ve come to the right place.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving. I love the way the house smells like cinnamon and turkey, even though there’s nothing with cinnamon anywhere near the menu. And I love how every dish has a backstory. Whether it was Auntie so-and-so’s favorite, or that the brining of the bird this year was a disaster, at Thanksgiving, nothing is ever just eaten. It’s inspected, labored over, loved, devoured, and picked-over again while putting away the leftovers and doing the dishes. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the entire day is spent in the kitchen with family. And wine.
But that’s not the point. For now, I want to talk breakfast. Because let’s be honest, it’s probably your only chance at dodging a turkey-centric-leftover meal for the next week. And as much as I can’t wait for the open-face turkey sandwiches, we both know that you need some realllly good breakfasts to get through the 35 lb bird you bought.
I found this egg and potato recipe on NPR after hearing the segment on the morning commute. It features Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, a great NYC based food blog. She was promoting her new cookbook, and made this breakfast for the interview. She cracked the age old mystery of how to cook near perfect greasy-spoon hash browns at home in her tiny little kitchen. I almost turned the car around and went home to make breakfast instead of going to work, but responsibility won over, and I instead waited for the weekend.
And I’ve made it the three weekends in a row since.
People just keep showing up at my house on Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s like news of this crispy, golden browned potato pancake with drippy egg yolk has been subconsciously sent out telepathically to my friends. Who am I kidding? Brunch is my favorite excuse to have a house full of friends and the pots hot in the kitchen. So I don’t mind. (And like all good brunch food, it goes together quick and easy and holds well, perfectly accommodating for all levels of hung-overness. Feel free to come over Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. I have a feeling we’ll be eating this. Enjoy!
A few links for those of you who really need more info about Thanksgiving cooking:
Cook’s Illustrated (Free 14 day trial)
Gluten Free Girl food blog – check out her Thanksgiving iPad app!
Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s Splendid Table
Not Without Salt food blog
Food and Wine Magazine online
Epicurious online – find well rated recipes with lots of reviews, and read all the comments.
And a few Seattle Palate posts and great recipes for the big day:
Adapted From: Deb Perelman, via NPR.org
Yield: four large (5-inch) latkes
Time to Prepare: 25 minutes, less if you can cook more than one Latke at a time.
1 large baking potato, peeled
1/2 small onion, peeled
1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable or olive oil, for frying
Fried eggs, to serve (optional)
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and keep in oven until needed.
In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer, moplike strands, I prefer to lay the potato sideways in the chute of the food processor. Transfer the shredded mixture to a square of cheesecloth or lint-free dishtowel, and gather the ends to wring out as much water as possible. Let it stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze it out again.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and egg together. Stir in the potato-onion mixture until all the pieces are evenly coated.
In a small, heavy skillet (cast iron, if you have one), heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until it shimmers. Form one-quarter of the potato mixture into a ball with your hands, then drop into the skillet and flatten with the back of a spoon to a 5-inch round, about 1/3″ thick. Cook the latke over moderate heat until the edges are golden, about 4 to 5 minutes; flip, and cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes more.
Transfer latke to the prepared baking sheet in the oven. Repeat process with remaining latke batter in three batches, creating a total of four large latkes, being sure to add more oil as needed and letting it fully reheat between pancakes. Keep latkes warm in oven until needed. Serve latkes warm in four wedges with eggs or whole with a fried egg atop each.
Latkes are a do-aheader’s dream. You can also keep the latkes warm in the oven, on low heat, for an hour or more, if you’re waiting for stragglers to arrive. If already cooked, they keep well in the fridge for a day or two, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 2 weeks. Reheat the latkes in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 300-degree oven until they’re crisp again. Bonus: If you undercooked them a bit, or didn’t get them as brown as you’d hoped, you can compensate for this in the oven.
For neat edges and a thinner rostilike appearance, you can press each pancake into a 6-inch skillet and proceed to cook according to directions. For lacy, craggy-edged latkes, form the pancakes in a larger pan.