This morning I received a message from my friend Amanda. Amanda is very good at food. I don’t just say this because she has written for Lifehacker — I have eaten multiple meals at her home, ranging from intimate fondue-fuelled dinner parties to full-blown Passover Seders with over 30 people in attendance.
This morning Amanda had some pretty excellent latke news. She had been frying them in duck fat, you see, and was very pleased with the results:
“How can there be anything wrong with latkes? They’re fried potatoes. They are born perfect. No iteration from food think tanks can make them more perfect. OR CAN THEY?,” she asked me over DM.
“Since potatoes are really just a palette for whatever flavour you layer on it, vegetable oil, I’ve realised, was a pretty laissez faire homage to Chanukah,” she explained. “Duck fat gives them an umami-ish, robust flavour that has the side benefit of making you feel superior.” (As someone who uses a lot of duck fat, I can confirm it does have a tendency to make one feel like some sort of Hamptons-dwelling gourmand.)
It might make your toppings situation a little more complex if you’re keeping kosher, but duck fat fried latkes with a really good applesauce sounds, to me, very dope — though Amanda recommends, “treating them like blini instead of insulting them with applesauce and sour cream.” Bonus: smoked salmon and roe are pareve, meaning they can be combined with duck-fat fried potatoes in a delightful bite that’s still kosher.
Also, for those who are concerned about costs, keep in mind you don’t have to deep fry your latkes in the duck fat. Amanda showed me the amount of oil in her pan, and it looked like a pretty reasonable amount (see photo to the side of this paragraph). Plus, Hanukah is a time of celebration. A time to treat oneself and one’s family. If there was ever a year that called for a little potato indulgence, I think it’s this one.