The simple elegance of crispy potato pancakes, sour cream, and salmon caviar makes these bite-sized appetizers perfect for a cocktail party or a first course at a fancy dinner party. Using a food processor fitted with a coarse grating disc makes quick work of grating the potatoes and onions. You may need to cut them to fit through the feed tube.
Neutral oil such as avocado, grapeseed, or safflower for frying
1 pound russet potatoes (2 large), peeled
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper or chipotle powder (optional)
1 cup sour cream or créme fraîche
2 ounces salmon caviar (ikura)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Prepare the Work Station
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set next to the stove. Fill a large skillet with a scant ½ inch of oil.
Make the Latke Batter
On the large holes of a box grater, shred the potatoes and onion into a bowl. Alternatively, shred the potatoes and onions using the shredding disk in a food processor. Transfer the potato-onion mixture to a clean, thin kitchen towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the liquid and return the mixture to the bowl.
Working quickly so the potatoes don’t discolor, add the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and cayenne (if using) and mix until thoroughly combined.
Fry The Latkes
Heat the oil over medium-high until shimmering, then add a drop of the latke mixture. When it sizzles, working in batches, spoon level tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil, pressing to flatten them slightly. Cook until golden and crispy, turning once or twice, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer the latkes to the paper towel-lined sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Transfer to the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining latkes. There should be about 32 latkes.
Finish and Serve
Arrange the latkes on a serving platter and top each with a dollop of sour cream and a slightly rounded ¼ teaspoon salmon caviar. Sprinkle with the chives and serve immediately.
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Pair it Up
Any sparkling white or rose, such as cava, prosecco, or Champagne, is the perfect wine to accompany such an elegant hors d’oeuvre.
Level It Up
Replace half of the russet potatoes with celeriac, Japanese sweet potato, or purple potato. Hot- or cold-smoked salmon or sablefish (black cod) are tasty substitutions for salmon caviar.
Make It Ahead
Reheat the latkes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in a 325°F oven for about 15 minutes, until crispy.