Everything Bagel Latkes with Dill Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

Photo by Shannon Sarna

I first tasted latkes for brunch at a trendy eatery on the Lower East Side about six years ago. Since then, I've seen them across the country on brunch menus everywhere from diners to Michelin Star restaurants.

Latkes — or potato pancakes, as they're known to non-Jews — are comfort food that provide the perfect base to any number of savory toppings, but especially a runny egg or salty, fatty smoked salmon. After all, a latke is very similar to hash browns, a quintessential breakfast food.

It's traditional to eat fried foods like latkes during Hanukkah, celebrating the miracle of the oil lasting for eight nights. And who doesn't love a holiday that encourages enjoyment of a little extra oil?

These breakfast latkes take the best of a classic and add a fun, American twist that screams brunch party.

Here I offer two options: one dairy and one meat. If you keep kosher but want to serve both at a single meal, you could leave out the corned beef from the second latke and just top classic latkes with some fried or poached eggs. If you want to be really indulgent, you could whip up some buttery Hollandaise sauce — you'll have your guests raving for months.

Everything Bagel Latkes with Dill Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

These latkes are both creamy and savory. Making latkes bite-size makes the experience a little more fun – guests can easily eat the latkes with their fingers, and also feel like they can indulge a little more since the portions are small.

Latkes:
4 Idaho (Russet) potatoes
1 small-medium onion
3 large garlic cloves
2 eggs
2-3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 ounces goat cheese, left at room temperature

Cream cheese:
6 ounces cream cheese, left at room temperature
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Everything bagel topping:
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 Tbsp. dried minced garlic
1 Tbsp. dried onion
2 tsp. coarse sea salt
Thinly sliced smoked salmon
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Before getting started on the latkes, I advise making the everything bagel topping and the dill cream cheese. Add softened cream cheese to a bowl and combine with fresh dill, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Place back in the fridge until ready to serve.

2. To make the everything bagel topping, mix together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion and coarse sea salt. Set aside.

3. Place potatoes, onion and garlic through a food processor for a coarse grate (you can also grate coarsely by hand). Place potato mixture in a large bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt, goat cheese and 2 tablespoons everything bagel topping mix.

4. Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Form bite-sized mounds of latkes, taking care not to squeeze too much liquid out of the latkes. Fry until golden brown on each side, then place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet to cool. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

5. When ready to serve, spread thin layer of dill cream cheese on top of each latke. Add smoked salmon on each latke and top with sprinkle of everything bagel topping. Serve while still warm.

Makes 12-15 latkes.

Corned Beef Hash Latkes with Fried Eggs

These corned beef hash-inspired latkes work best with thinly shredded corned beef. If you can purchase a hunk of corned beef, as opposed to sliced, that would be ideal. If not, make sure to heat up the corned beef before shredding it or dicing into very, very tiny cubes.

But don’t skimp on the salt in these latkes just because you think the meat will be salty — the potatoes still need salt to make these latkes most flavorful.

4 Idaho (Russet) potatoes
1 small-medium onion
2 eggs
2-3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
Shredded corned beef
Additional salt
Additional eggs
Fresh parsley
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Peel and cut potatoes and onions in half. Peel garlic cloves. Place potatoes, onion and garlic through food processor for a coarse grate (you can also grate coarsely by hand).

2. Place potato mixture in a large bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt and shredded (or diced) corned beef.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Form large, fist-sized mounds of latkes, taking care not to squeeze too much liquid out of the latkes. Fry until golden brown on each side, then place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet to cool. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

4. Fry or poach eggs to your liking. When ready to serve, place latkes on platter and top with fried or poached eggs. Top with chopped fresh parsley.

Makes 12-15 latkes.

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