Top This! Latkes as a Canvas

Posted on November 13, 2020

Sure, it’s fun to come up with new ways to gussy up latkes: beet latkes, cauliflower latkes, even ramen noodle latkes. But what I love more than adding other veggies and ingredients to the pancake itself is taking the classic potato latke and using it as a canvas for complementary and creative toppings.

You can even throw a “top your latke” party and spread out a tray of potato latkes and a diverse array of fixings to allow your guests to top their own latkes in fun and interesting combinations.

So move over, applesauce. Here are 10 delicious ways to top your potato latkes this Chanukah.

1) Caviar and Crème Fraîche
This is my favorite, most decadent way to top latkes for friends and family: a dollop of crème fraîche (or sour cream), a smidge of caviar and a touch of fresh chives will impress and delight.

2) Goat Cheese and Harissa
Get spicy, get creamy and add some Middle Eastern flare on top of those Ashkenormative latkes. The combination of something spicy with the tangy goat cheese is a surprising marriage. Add some fresh mint or lemon zest on top for color and brightness.

3) Guacamole, Sour Cream and Hot Sauce

Tex-Mex latkes? Yes, please. These toppings are easy and a crowd-pleaser. Plus, it’s the perfect choice to serve with margaritas.



4) Cheese Curds
If you’re already frying potato latkes, why not top them with fried cheese curds, too? Add some gravy on top for a Wisconsin-meets-Montreal Chanukah-perfect mash-up. Get the recipe here:

5) Tahini and Israeli Salad
Give your traditional potato latkes a little Israeli makeover with some easy chopped Israeli salad (finely diced tomato, cucumber and pepper with a squeeze of lemon juice), and a drizzle of tahini. You can even pretend for a few bites that you are eating healthy food!

6) Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream and Fresh Dill

Classic, simple and basically the most perfect way to eat latkes. Potato latkes were made to be served with salty salmon and tangy sour cream. Add some capers and fresh dill on top.




7) Ricotta, Honey and Sea Salt
A drizzle of honey on top of creamy, slightly sweet ricotta is a classic and delicious combination. Add some flaked sea salt and fresh thyme on top to bring it all together.

8) Pastrami and Mustard
It’s a latke that tastes like a deli sandwich! And it’s so easy to put this perfect combination together, since there’s no additional cooking. If you want to kick this up a notch, add some pickles and caraway seeds.

9) Brisket and Pickled Onion
Rich, luscious brisket on top of crispy potato latkes is a match made in Jewish heaven. Add some tangy quick pickled onions for extra oomph and a pop of color.

10) Chopped Liver Spread and Caramelized Onions

I served this last year for a Chanukah party and they disappeared. I like to make a creamier, Tuscan-inspired liver, but you can go completely traditional with your chopped liver and top with some caramelized onions. Extra points if you also fry your latkes in schmaltz.

Originally published in the November-December 2020 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives.