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Potato Latkes with Gravlax and Crème Fraiche
A perennial party favorite, these little hors d’oeuvres are a study in contrasts: hot golden-brown potato pancakes draped with rich, salty salmon and topped with cool crème fraiche. For perfectly crisp latkes, heed Chef Wilson’s advice: 1. Squeeze the grated potato in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture; 2. Drain any extra milk from the batter before pan-frying; 3. Avoid crowding the pan, and after you flip the pancakes, shake the pan to evenly redistribute the olive oil and butter.
½ shallot, (minced)
1 small clove garlic, (minced)
1 farm-fresh egg
2–3 tablespoons whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large baking potato, such as a Russet (we used a ‘Purple Viking’), (peeled)
2–3 tablespoons all-purpose flour ((or substitute gluten-free flour of your choice))
1–2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
Olive oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon salted butter (for frying)
2–4 ounces gravlax (cured salmon) or smoked salmon, (cut into 2- to 3-inch-wide strips and folded up to match size of latkes)
Crème fraiche (for finishing)
Chopped fresh chives (for garnish)
In a medium bowl, whisk together shallot, garlic, egg, milk, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour and nutmeg to taste. The batter should thicken slightly, but not get as thick as traditional pancake batter. Whisk in up to 1 tablespoon flour more, if needed.
Using large holes of a box grater, grate potato into a clean kitchen towel, then wrap it up and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Stir grated potato into batter; if there is any excess milk in bowl, drain it off. Set aside to rest.
Preheat a large cast-iron skill over medium heat. Coat pan with olive oil and butter, swirling them around to cover entire surface. Working in batches, use a fork to scoop up bite-sized piles of potato mixture and add them to the hot pan (do not smash the piles). Cook until brown on first side, 3–5 minutes. Flip pancakes, swirl oil and butter around in pan to make sure bottoms crisp evenly, then cook until brown, another 3–5 minutes. Transfer latkes to paper towel”“lined plate to drain.
Arrange hot latkes on a serving platter and top each one with a piece of salmon and a small dollop of crème fraiche. Garnish with fresh chives and serve.
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