Amber & Rye by Zuza Zak
Potato-hash pancakes – or latkes in Yiddish – are known as a traditional part of Jewish cuisine. It’s not surprising, therefore, that they are also commonplace in Lithuanian cooking, since Lithuania (like many Eastern European countries) had a huge Jewish community prior to World War II. For hundreds of years, recipes, ingredients and techniques were shared in a way that makes tracing their origins impossible; luckily, it’s also unnecessary. Likewise, I find it unnecessary to peel the potatoes unless they are looking a bit worse for wear.
Some may find the kiełbasa sausage a surprising addition here, given the Jewish name of this dish, but it’s delicious! You can, of course, use kosher sausage instead, if you prefer.
50 g (1¾ oz) smoked kiełbasa-style sausage, cubed
200 g (7 oz) spinach leaves
Squeeze of lemon juice Salt and black pepper
For the latkes
2 medium potatoes
2 French shallots, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
Rapeseed oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 100°C (200°F).
For the latkes, coarsely grate the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the shallots, egg and flour and mix well. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Heat a thin film of rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once it’s hot, add tablespoonfuls of the potato mixture to the pan, working in batches and taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Flatten the latkes with your fork and fry for about 2–3 minutes on the first side, until golden, then flip and cook for another 2–3 minutes on the other side. Drain the cooked latkes on paper towel and keep warm in the oven.
Add a little more oil to the frying pan and add the sausage. Fry until it crisps up, then add the spinach. Once the spinach has wilted (this will only take a minute or so), add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the sausage and spinach on top of the latkes.
Images & text from Amber & Rye by Zuza Zak; photography by Ola O. Smit. Murdoch Books RRP $55.00