On Wednesday morning I woke up with a sudden craving for breakfast at Luxe Bakery Café in Newtown, the area of Sydney where my parents live. When staying in Sydney we visited Luxe several times, and every time I ordered the same thing: house-cured trout with potato hash, poached eggs and truffle oil. And now, on drizzly a London morning, all I could think of was how much I wanted to be able to walk up the street into the beautiful big light space of that lovely Australian café and order what I think is one of the most delicious breakfasts I have ever tasted. Obviously, as this was not an option, I had to revert to the next best thing and try to recreate it (as best I could).
(Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Jerusalem)
400g (14oz) potatoes
30g (1oz) chives (plus extra for garnish)
3 egg whites
1.5 tablespoons of white (plain) flour
60g (2oz) butter
80ml (3 fl oz) grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
Peel and wash the potatoes, then grate them. Squeeze as much of the liquid out of the grated potato as you can, and lay out on some kitchen towels to dry a bit more. Chop the chives. In a large bowl mix together the grated potato, chopped chives, egg whites, and flour, with a large pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
Lay out some kitchen paper (where you will place the latkes once fried) and turn on the oven to low if you are making several and want to keep the first batch warm while making more. In a large frying pan, heat up half the butter and a good slick of the oil. (Note that one frying pan will hold about three latkes. If you are making latkes for several people, you may want to use two frying pans so you can cook up to six latkes simultaneously). Take a handful of the potato mixture, give it a good squeeze to remove excess liquid, and place it in the frying pan. Flatten with a spatula. Ottolenghi and Tamimi say that each latke should be made of about two tablespoons of potato and be 1cm thick. I made mine quite a bit thicker and regretted it, so I suggest you stick to no more than two tablespoons to keep them thin and crispy.
Cook for about 3 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. When done, place on kitchen paper and pat some of the excess oil from their surface. Add more butter and oil as needed for subsequent batches.
Latkes can be made in advance, wrapped in aluminium foil for up to two days. To reheat just place the foil package in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for 10-15 minutes.
Latkes with Smoked Trout and Truffle Oil
4-6 latkes (see above)
60g (2oz) smoked trout (Note: you do not want hot smoked trout, but if you can’t find cold smoked trout you can substitute smoked salmon)
15g (0.5 oz) chives, chopped
3 teaspoons of truffle oil
2-4 poached eggs (optional)
Divide the quantities between two plates. Assemble the trout on top of the latkes, sprinkle with chives and drizzle with truffle oil. Serve while the latkes are hot.
I would have served these with a poached egg, but I have been trying a new method of poaching eggs that actually looks promising, but ended in utter failure the first time I attempted it, so I ended up eggless.