Exciting (but easy and cheapish) latke toppings
December 8, 2016 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I need your favorite latke topping/sauce ideas/recipes for an early latkes/vodka buffet.

We're having 25+ people over for an early latkes and vodkas party. I'm in charge of the latkes, guests are bringing the booze. Most of these people will be experiencing latkes for the first time, so I'm going classic in latke prep. And I'll obviously have apple sauce and sour cream. But I'm thinking a few more toppings/sauces are necessary. Obvious ones are things to mix into sour cream, so I'm thinking a chipotle peppers sour cream and and a horseradish one. But do you have any other ideas? This is a no meat experience, and I'm not buying caviar or lox. Otherwise.....ideas? Best ideas are things I can make the night before and can sit in a buffet table without heat/cooling during the event itself.
posted by atomicstone to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Something tart, like cranberry relish?
posted by clavicle at 10:02 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I put soy sauce and sour cream on mine, so I vote for some sort of soy sauce-based preparation! Something like this (just the sauce recipe, you do not need to change up your latkes), or I'm sure you could buy something off the shelf at an Asian supermarket or regular grocery with a large "international" section.
posted by lalex at 10:09 AM on December 8, 2016

I'd try a dip made of roughly equal parts mayo and ketchup, possibly with a bit of honey (or just honey+mayo). I associate this as a midwestern dip for anything fried, no idea its true provenance.

With the sour cream+more idea, I'd make some Knorr spinach dip, because I always love an excuse to indulge in that.

Latke+vodka sounds like an AWESOME party idea btw, have fun!
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:12 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you have a preferred neighborhood Indian spot or South Asian grocer? Mint and tamarind chutneys (like the kind that would generally accompany an order of samosas) make great toppings/dips for fried carby vegetables. (curry inflected latkes are now a staple of our hinjew household, but these condiments would go great with the more traditional version too).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:16 AM on December 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

I experimentally put hoisin sauce on my latkes last year and it was a success. I endorse that as a nonstandard option.
posted by silby at 10:19 AM on December 8, 2016

For the sake of dietary variety, you can make a (delicious and simple) vegan sour cream from cashews, water, and a few other ingredients.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:33 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I served latkes just last night with this herbed applesauce. Not too sweet and really, surprisingly good.
posted by libraryhead at 10:34 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I worked at a Jewish summer camp as a vegetarian cook and babysitter. I was 17.

Anyways, I was supposed to make mashed potatoes, and for some reason the kitchen help guys shredded the spuds. And then the shreds did not soften in boiling water so we made latkes. My Irish mum puts baked beans with potatoes, and I had no clue what the norm for latkes was. So I made latkes and baked beans. Suspicious at first, the kids who tried it loved them. And then made other kids try it. And then All Kids gobbled it down.

Now I always make beans with latkes.

(Yes I know ridiculously long story to get to point)
posted by Ftsqg at 10:56 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thinking of 'what do people eat on fried potatoes' , maybe go the British route with malt vinegar?
posted by Fig at 10:56 AM on December 8, 2016

Inspired by Exceptional_Hubris's response, raita is also delicious on fried things! Alternatively, tzatziki? Basically, delicious savoury yogurt sauce.

Also, I made latkes once with my vegan partner, and he liked both sriracha or Frank's Red Hot sauce with them. Not as creative as some of the other suggested toppings, but still good. You could go a little crazier by turning this into a "patatas bravas" sauce, as the Barcelonans use on their fried potatoes. I got this recipe from a Catalonian friend:

85ml (1/3 cup) tomate frito (a tomato sauce made from pureed tomatoes, onion and garlic with a little sugar and vinegar).
2 tbsp mayonnaise (mayonesa)
1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar (vinagre de vino blanco)
1/2 tsp paprika (pimentón dulce)
1/4 tsp ground cumin (cominos)
cayenne pepper (cayena) or Tabasco sauce (salsa picante) to taste

Oh, and a jar of capers and some red onions to toss on top will complement the sour cream/vegan sour cream nicely. A few capers go a long way.
posted by Paper rabies at 12:25 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have had success (meaning that I enjoyed them even if the traditionalists scoffed) with:
Oyster Sauce
Mae Ploy (that sweet thai chili sauce)
posted by bluejayway at 3:16 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dill goes great with everything traditionally latke-related, so you could have just some fresh chopped dill for garnish or do a dill sour cream or do some dill infused drink recipes. Also pretty and aromatic in bouquets if you're decorating (or if you buy fresh dill and have 3/4 of the bundle left over).

Explicitly not vegan but still veggie: cheese! I've had mini latkes served in place of crackers on a cheese plate before, that was incredible, but you could just have bite sized pieces of different cheeses available and do regular sized latkes. Or you could shred some and melt a little on top of a latke if you're warming them in the oven or making them fresh. This is fantastic with apple sauce and nearly recreates the apple pie with cheese flavor profile if you use cheddar.

Latke "tostadas" with hot sauce, salsa and guacamole was a weird but super yummy late night snack I had one hanukkah eve that I recreate if I ever have an avocado lying around when I've made latkes.
posted by Mizu at 4:16 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

For supper I fried up some potato and onion latkes and made a chickpea dip/side dish similar to this. It was delish! You can mash up the chickpeas to make them a little easier to use as a latke topping.
posted by bluebelle at 7:22 PM on December 8, 2016

This is not so cheap, but latkes with lox and avocado are AMAZING.
posted by ostro at 7:41 PM on December 8, 2016

Mushrooms briefly cooked and doused in red wine or sherry vinegar.
Butter with capers and chives.
Roasted capsicum with olive oil.
posted by hawthorne at 6:49 AM on December 9, 2016

Is it too weird to suggest a sweet topping, to act as dessert after all the savory latkes? Apple sauce is a good start, but I am thinking of something a bit more substantial. It feels like canned pie filling or jam would be too sweet - maybe something like a fruit compote? Use apples or berries or peaches, and just a little bit of butter and sugar. Simmer until slightly softened. Maybe serve with whipped cream.
posted by CathyG at 11:36 AM on December 9, 2016

From the "don't knock it till you've tried it" department: latkes are OUTSTANDING with pesto.
posted by sesquipedalia at 10:14 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

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