This recipe was created by chef Todd Ginsberg of Atlanta restaurant The General Muir. Applesauce is a classic topping for potato pancakes, but all sorts of flavors pair wonderfully with fried potatoes, including this creative Middle Eastern-inspired topping of tahini (sesame paste), yogurt, and roasted red peppers. This topping requires a bit of time to prepare, but it’s extremely simple to make. Ginsberg roasts two medium-size red bell peppers in the oven until they are browned, then removes the peppers from oven, and wraps them with plastic wrap. To soften the peels, let the peppers steam 30 minutes to 1 hour. The steam will soften the peels so they will slide right off. In addition to the roasted peppers, the latkes are topped with chopped fresh parsley and two sauces: one nutty tahini-based sauce, and one tangy yogurt-based sauce. Both can be whipped up in a bowl in minutes. Our Test Kitchen loved this recipe, saying, “This is delicious and surprising. The combination of smooth tahini sauce, creamy yogurt, and crunchy latkes is really satisfying.” Ginsberg prefers frying latkes in clarified butter, but this recipe will work just as well with canola or vegetable oil. The latkes can be made in advance and then reheated, especially when they are cooked on a griddle instead of deep-fried (which can make them soggy). To do this, cook the latkes up to 4 hours ahead of time, and don't refrigerate. A half hour before serving, crisp up the latkes on the griddle and then transfer them to a baking sheet with a thin layer of clarified butter on the bottom. Place them in a 400˚F oven for 3 to 5 minutes. They will be warm, crunchy, and ready to serve.
2 medium-size red bell peppers
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste, such as Soom)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4-6 tablespoons water
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
6 large russet potatoes, peeled and grated (about 5 lb.)
Prepare the Topping: Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly coat peppers with canola oil, and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast in preheated oven until browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and wrap peppers with plastic wrap; let steam 30 minutes to 1 hour. Peel and seed peppers; discarding peel and seeds. Cut into strips, and chop; set aside.
Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and 4 tablespoons of the water in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy. If needed, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons water to thin sauce. Stir together yogurt, olive oil, and pepper in a bowl.
Prepare the Latkes: Rinse grated potatoes in a colander with hot water. (Hot water will act as a blanch to prevent discoloration.) Drain and squeeze the potatoes to remove as much excess liquid as possible.
Place potatoes, onion, and eggs in a bowl, and stir to combine. Stir together flour and salt in a small bowl until combined; gradually add to potato mixture, stirring until combined.
Heat Clarified Butter in a large skillet or on an electric griddle over medium-high. Drop 6 to 8 loosely packed 1/4 cupfuls of potato mixture into hot butter; press lightly with a spatula to flatten into 3-inch rounds. Reduce temperature to medium, and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with pepper.
Top each Potato Latke with 1 tablespoon of yogurt, 2 teaspoons of the chopped bell pepper, and a drizzle of tahini sauce (about 1 teaspoon). Sprinkle with chopped chives.