D.C.-based chef Daniel Bortnick (of Firefly) knows a thing or two about latkes. A native of the Washington Jewish community, he's tasted more than a few in his day. This year, however, Bortnick gives the classic fried Chanukah treat a modern update: Forget apple sauce and sour cream—none of his toppings come from a container.
For those not up on the latest latke-making trends: Toppings are all the rage. Last week, New York Times columnist Melissa Clark discussed her predilection for gourmet riffs on classic condiments.
"Sure, applesauce and sour cream were workable. But crème fraîche and salmon caviar were so much more festive. And smoked trout mousse made with whipped cream, chives and a touch of horseradish was unexpected and delightful."
Bortnick and Clark seem to be of the same school when it comes to latkes. Bortnick's version ($12) comes with a trio of toppings: Chicken liver pâté with salted radishes; smoked sablefish with pickled shallots and scallion cream; and spiced poached pear with ginger chips. Bortnick's sage words of advice when making your own: Don't futz with them. If it sticks to the pan, the latke isn't ready to be flipped.
In Eat My ____, we ask pro chefs to cook us their signature dish from scratch. Do try this at home.