Isn't it funny how we all crave different things during different times of the year. Comfort food takes on a whole new meaning when you live in Arizona or other parts of the south where temperatures soar. We stretched it a bit yesterday with the chicken and dumplings, because it's more salad weather here than stew appropriate so grilling is really the answer at least until it gets too hot to do even that.
We picked up some gorgeous Copper River salmon at the market and while I had every intention of smoking it, to be honest I was just too darn impatient. I mean waiting for it to cure for 24 hours, then drying it before smoking seemed like too much effort when we could have almost instant gratification on the grill. I had some potlatch seasoning left over from another dinner and it was the perfect solution.
A good rub in it, an 8 hour nap in the refrigerator and 10 minutes on the gas grill on low meant perfect results. What can I say except we're just lucky that way ...no actually, it's Big Guy on the grill that does the trick but I'm not loaning him out.
Placed on top of a bed of fresh greens along with a perfectly ripe avocado, it could have been absolutely perfect but some kind of crunch seemed like a great idea. Enter the lowly potato in a latke form.
This particular version is more like an Irish potato cake (see here) in texture as the potatoes and some of the onions are pureed in the food processor rather than grated. It's certainly a lot easier and quicker too.
While the recipe on epicurious.com suggested draining the potato/onion mixture in a towel lined colander and squeezing out the excess moisture, I happen to hate the mess that creates, so I used my trusty little OXO potato ricer instead. It really does the trick in getting rid of the excess moisture; in fact, if anything, you can squeeze out too much of it. Finished with an egg, a mere tablespoon of flour, a little baking powder and salt and pepper, the latkes are super light, incredibly moist and really crisp on the outside.
Who needs boring old croutons when you can have latkes on your salad instead? Incidentally, we had our salad dressed in a purchased Vidalia Onion dressing courtesy of Sam's Club and it was just perfect, but a vinaigrette, or even ranch dressing would be A-OK too.
Potlatch Seasoning (adapted from Foodnetwork.com)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Combine ingredients together in a small jar and seal tightly.
Quick and Easy Potato Latkes (from JBug’s Kitchen adapted from epicurious.com)
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped and divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying
In a food process, combine potato chunks and all but a quarter cup of chopped onion. Pulse until potatoes are very finely chopped. Working in batches, put the potato mixture through a potato ricer to squeeze out the excess moisture. Scrape into a bowl. (Alternately move the potato mixture into a towel line colander and squeeze out as much moisture as possible by wringing the towel).
Add the reserved chopped onion to the bowl along with egg, salt, black pepper, flour and baking powder. Mix well to combine.
Heat approximately a quarter inch of oil in the bottom of a heavy pan and heat over medium high. Using a small ice cream scoop, drop quarter cupful’s of potato mixture into hot oil and press slightly to make a flat cake. Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes a side until golden brown and crisp. Remove to a cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 and just before serving, heat latkes until crisp and deep brown – about 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 6 latkes.
A year ago - Thai Style Grilled Chicken on Noodle Salad
Two year's ago - Santa Fe Corn Pie