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8 & $20 Recipe: Potato Latkes and Prosecco

You can’t go wrong with fried potatoes and sparkling wine

Jennifer Fiedler
Posted: December 11, 2012

Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

Like many dishes associated with holidays, potato latkes tend to show up once a year, and then in abundance. Here’s a case to put them into more regular rotation: They’re silly easy to make, require few ingredients and score extremely high on the deliciousness scale.

You can find any number of latke recipes out there, some with baking soda for leavening, some with spices or other flourishes. My personal preference, reflected in the recipe here, is for simplicity: Start with coarsely shredded unpeeled potatoes, make the patties a small size for even cooking and maximum crispness, and add plain old salt and pepper as seasoning. Tweak it as you see fit; the more minor variations shouldn’t affect a wine pairing.

If you’ve got a small group over and your guests are game, latke-making is a perfect time to experiment with different wines. With all the toppings, there are many pathways to a good match and it’s fun to play around. The competing theories go something like this: Should your wine match function like the toppings, making a counterpoint to the salty fried latkes, or instead appeal straight to the toppings with a similar flavor profile? You can go either way.

From our tasting, a pair of Chenin Blancs, one from South Africa and the other from France’s Loire Valley, both stood out alongside an applesauce topping, with their classic appley profiles. A Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, with its high acidity and citrus characteristics, was impressive because it was the only wine of our batch that could stand up to sour cream.

An oddball pick, a red Lambrusco, gained some fans when paired with some of the more charred latkes. However, my favorite wine of the tasting, a Prosecco, had to do more with texture than flavor; the bubbles and acidity were refreshing after the fried potatoes and salt.

Potato Latkes

Pair with a Prosecco such as Ponte Extra Dry Prosecco NV (88 points, $12)

Total time: 35 minutes

Approximate food cost:$18

  • 4 large Russet potatoes, coarsely grated
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup applesauce

1. In a large fine-grained strainer, combine the grated potatoes and onions and squeeze the water out by pressing gently on the mixture. Place the potato and onion mixture in a large bowl and mix in the eggs. When the eggs are incorporated, add the flour and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and combine until the flour is just mixed in. Do not overmix.

2. In a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat 1/4-inch of cooking oil until hot. Using 2 to 3 tablespoons of the potato mixture at a time, form patties of 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness and put them in the hot oil in batches. Cook until golden brown, around 2 minutes, then flip with a spatula and cook the opposite side until golden brown. Remove from the pan to a paper towel-covered plate, season with salt and keep warm until service. Serve with the applesauce and sour cream as toppings. Serves 4.

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