Why It Works
- Squeezing the patty mixture in cheesecloth helps eliminate excess moisture, making the results more consistent and helping the latkes brown more efficiently.
- Shredding the ingredients in a food processor ensures a hearty, consistent size and shape for the latkes.
This recipe takes its inspiration from beet skordalia, an addictive Greek dip that combines potatoes, beets, walnuts, and a whole lot of garlic. Translating it into a latke is a simple matter of shredding the ingredients rather than whipping them.
Beets, typically sugary-sweet when roasted, have a slightly brighter, more vegetal flavor served raw. But when briefly fried, they straddle the line between sweet and savory, partnering seamlessly with the punchy garlic, zesty onion, mild potato, and chopped nuts. A spoonful of horseradish sour cream is the perfect finishing touch.
- For the Horseradish Sour Cream:
- 1 cup sour cream (about 7 1/2 ounces; 210g)
- Horseradish, to taste (approximately 1 tablespoon; 15ml)
- For the Latkes:
- 1 1/2 pounds (680g) red beets, peeled, trimmed, and shredded on the shredding disk of a food processor (6 cups shredded)
- 1 pound (450g) russet potatoes, peeled, trimmed, and shredded on the shredding disk of a food processor (3 cups shredded)
- 4 cups chopped onion (about 4 medium onions)
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (2 1/4 ounces; 65g)
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup matzo meal, plus more as needed (see note)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (18g) kosher salt, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
- Canola or peanut oil, for frying
- Unsweetened applesauce, for serving
For the Horseradish Sour Cream: In a small bowl, combine horseradish and sour cream. Stir to mix thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Latkes: Working in roughly 2-cup batches, wrap beets, potatoes, and onions in cheesecloth that has been folded over twice. Tie corners around the handle of a wooden spoon and twist bundle until liquid flows out and vegetables are dry. Add squeezed vegetables to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine thoroughly.
Add garlic and walnuts and stir to combine. Mix in eggs and matzo meal. You should be able to form patties that just stick together in your hands; if the mixture is too wet, add more matzo meal, 1 tablespoon at a time, until patties can be properly formed. Stir in salt and pepper.
Heat 1/2 inch oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until a shred of potato immediately bubbles when dropped in. Form a small amount of latke mixture into a disk and fry on both sides until golden brown to test for seasoning. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Form patties about 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick in the center and slide patties into pan (no more than 4 at a time). Fry until a golden-brown crust forms on bottom, then flip using a slotted spatula and fork and fry until golden brown on other side and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes per side. If a darker crust is desired, continue cooking on each side to desired doneness.
Transfer latkes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and let cool for 2 minutes. Serve with applesauce and horseradish sour cream at the table.
The exact amount of matzo meal needed will depend on how moist your vegetables are. Start with the suggested amount, then add more if needed, working in 1-tablespoon increments, until you can form patties that stick together in your hands.