Fermentation is an old-world tradition that has reemerged in culinary culture. Fresh ferments are packed with probiotics, which help maintain essential balance in the digestive tract, contain heaps of vitamin C and other healthy enzymes that boost the immune system, and they’re delicious! In Fresh and Fermented (Sasquatch Books, 2014), authors and founders of Firefly Kitchens Julie O’Brian and Richard J. Climenhage provide in-depth instructions on how to make traditionally fermented carrots, krauts, and kimchi, at home. This recipe for Latkes with Crème Fraiche Kraut Sauce is from Chapter 5: Morning Meals.
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Potato latkes, simple pancakes of grated potatoes, have a long history in both Europe and the Middle East. On their own, they can turn a breakfast routine into something special. For a protein boost, you can top them with a poached or fried egg, or they’re particularly divine if you dollop them with Smoked Salmon Mousse before you drizzle on the crème fraîche kraut sauce.Although this recipe calls for Caraway Kraut, it pairs well with any ferment. Get creative by substituting sweet potatoes, yams, or carrots for half of the potatoes. If you’re lucky enough to have leftover latkes, you can reheat them quickly in a skillet for an afternoon snack. A simple garnish is applesauce, with a little Classic Kraut stirred in.
• 4 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
• 2 tablespoons minced onion
• 2 tablespoons caraway Kraut, chopped
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose or gluten-free flour
• 2 organic eggs, whisked until well blended
• 11⁄2 teaspoons salt
• 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil, peanut oil, or butter, for frying
For the sauce:
• 1⁄4 cup caraway Kraut, roughly chopped
• 1⁄2 cup crème fraîche, sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Parsley sprigs, for garnish
1. Peel the potatoes if you want. (We use organic potatoes, so we usually leave the skin on.) Grate them using a handheld grater or a food processor’s grater attachment. Immediately drop the grated potatoes into a large bowl of cold water and soak them for 2 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes thoroughly. Roll them up in a clean dish towel and twist the towel to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Unwrap the potatoes, and put them in a medium bowl. Add the onion, kraut, and flour, and mix until evenly incorporated. Add the eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
3. For each latke, scoop up about 1/3 cup of the mixture and shape it into a small patty. The latkes cook best when they’re about 1⁄2 inch thick.
4. Heat the oil in a large fry or sauté pan over medium heat. Drop a small dollop of the batter into the pan to test the oil temperature; if the temperature is right, the batter should sizzle immediately. (Making sure the oil is hot enough will help the latkes brown evenly and absorb less oil.)
5. When the oil is hot, drop 3 or 4 latkes into the pan at a time, frying until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Repeat this process until you’ve cooked all the latkes, adding more oil to the pan if needed.
6. Put the cooked latkes on a wire rack or plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. You can keep them warm in a 200-degree F oven until you’re ready to serve them.
7. To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve. To serve, put 2 or 3 latkes on each plate. Dollop 1 or 2 tablespoons of sauce on top, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.
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(c) 2014 by Julie O’Brien and Richard J. Climenhage. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Fresh & Fermented by permission of Sasquatch Books. Buy this book from our store: Fresh & Fermented.