I have one day left of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies series, and that will be posted tomorrow (aka - I haven't made them yet). For now, we interrupt out regularly scheduled programming for another wonderful holiday food - DUCK FAT LATKES.
When I saw the recipe for Duck Fat Latkes on Chow.com, I almost lost it. Just a few days before, I saw that my supermarket was selling Dartagnan Duck Fat (love Dartagnan - they give me all of the things that would take too much time to do myself - render duck fat, veal demi-glaze, duck confit - you get hte idea) and I said to myself - I need to make something with duck fat.
A few days ago, I had some friends over for Christmukkah dinner and one mentioned that I should try latkes. I mentioned that latkes scare me - I had tried once before and they were greasy and oily and really just horrible and that I need to learn from someone who has been making them for years, the art of latke making. But then that night we received a gift from two good friends: an AWESOME latke spatula - the one you see above. It was a sign. I must make latkes.
As a side note, we have this little doll called Latke Larry who holds a plate of latkes in his hand and sings and dances... it's kind of hysterical. He approved of this spatula.
It was the first night of Hannukah and Jack and I were going to celebrate by exchanging gifts and lighting candles (my first time!) and having a great dinner.
I asked Jack if he wanted duck fat latkes for dinner and he exclaimed "YES!" but the stopped himself saying that he didn't want to be that unhealthy. But I never listen to what he says anyways, so why start now?
I headed to the store to grab the ingredients, minus the root vegetables that were included in the recipe, because, frankly, I hate root vegetables. They taste like earth, and not in a good way. They make me want to puke.
I got home and started grating potatoes. I already wanted to give up. In my head, I was thinking, "Who's bright idea was it to take the WETTEST, STARCHIEST food and decide: Hey, I'm going to make something that requires this to be completley dry before it's cooked or else it will taste like crap."
I squeezed and squeezed the crap out of those grated potatoes. I literally used the lip of my sink for leverage as I pressed the water from the grated potatoes through a strainer, looking like I was playing tug of war with my sink. And when I thought the latkes were dry, guess what? More water!
I read an article on Bon Appetit that stated that another key to good latkes was that you needed to squeeze them once again right before going in the pan to remove extra water. And I think all of these things were the trick, because MY GOD these were UNBELIEVABLE. Thyme (great, great addition). Potatoes. Onion. DUCK FAT.
Jack even said that these were the best latkes that he has ever had. They were plump and crisp, and the insides were smooth and creamy. And Jack forgot all about his need to "be healthy" because he ate every. single. one. Except for half. I had one half. And then he ate the other half. And 7 more.
Like Joey Tribbiani, Jack doesn't share food!
Duck Fat Latkes - Adapted from Chow.com
- 2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled
- 1/2 medium yellow onion
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 6 ounces duck fat or 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- Applesauce for serving (optional)