Karl-Peter has commanded a Belgian strike today in the kitchen. I woke up to make waffles, a choice KP discouraged because it was too Belgian. I have no such superstition. There is no way the universe sees my breakfast as a weight to tip the scales in the favor of Belgium over the US soccer team. In fact, I ate that waffle. I chomp latkes and laugh maniacally—because good food trumps World Cup. And the United States is good enough to win this afternoon regardless of the fact that I ate the Belgian waffles this morning with an aggressive, voodoo spirit.
My bulldog prefers to maintain neutrality. Here she is, reticent in a US scarf babushka. Izzy, we are playing Belgium, not Bulgaria. I can’t hear you, she sneers.
Either way, enjoy yourself a potato latke today. Cut up some green onions and chives and throw them on top like victory confetti, a foreshadowing.
Twice-Cooked Latkes with Shallot Cream
Adapted from Food and Wine
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Freshly ground pepper
2 10-ounce baking potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1 small onion, quartered
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
olive oil, for frying
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
Snipped chives or green onion, for garnish
In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream with the shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate the shallot cream until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325º. In a food processor, shred the potatoes and the small onion. Transfer to a strainer set over a bowl and season with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let stand for 5 minutes, then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel. Pour off the liquid in the bowl and add the potatoes and onion. Stir in the egg, egg yolk, butter and cornstarch.
Scoop 1/3-cup mounds of the potatoes onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and flatten them to 1/4 inch thick. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just set. Let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 200º.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 350º. Working in batches, fry the sweet onion slices until golden, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain; keep warm in the oven.
Reheat the oil to 350º. Working in batches, fry the latkes, turning occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a platter and garnish with snipped chives. Serve with the fried onions and shallot cream.
The shallot cream is the best. I am beginning to believe in shallots with a solemnity that borders on religiousity. Give us this day our daily shallot, Oh Lord.
Izzy contends with a prayer of her own, Give us this day our daily nap. Or someone’s getting hurt.