Warning: This ain’t healthy.
May 16, 2014
In fact, I’m not at all sure that looking at the picture may not cause a rise in your cholesterol. This is some seriously unhealthy food, here. And despite the fact it looks sinfully good, it’s just so rich that after the first bite or two, it’s almost too much to take.
That first bite or two? That, though, is pretty freakin’ heavenly.
This is the dish that made me a regular reader of the Serious Eats blog. It’s Latkes Benedict, and it combines four things that I dearly love — latkes, pastrami, an over-easy egg, and Hollandaise sauce.
Let’s see. There’s two eggs in the latkes. One on top. Four in the Hollandaise, along with a full stick of melted butter. Plus the fact the latkes are fried. Plus the cured and smoked brisket. Between the fat, the sodium, and whatever it is in egg yolks that ups your cholesterol, I’m pretty sure this is a heart attack waiting to happen.
It’s a damn well impressive breakfast or brunch, though, even if it is something of a production to prepare.
Taking it from the top, make your latkes:
- Peel about four decent-sized russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, and grate them. I use my FoPro, as I am averse to blood and skin in my latkes.
- While you’re grating, grate a small peeled onion, or half of a larger one, in the same bowl.
- Line a colander with dampened cheesecloth, dump the grated potatoes and onion in it, and let it drain a bit. Then gather it up in the cheesecloth, and wring and squeeze it until you’ve gotten most of the liquid out of it.
- Dump that in a bowl, add two eggs, some salt and pepper and a scant quarter-cup of some kind of cracker or bread crumbs. I have, in a pinch, used a tablespoon or two of flour.
- Mix it all up, and fry 3-inch latkes (about 1/3 cup of potato mixture) in 1/2 inch of canola oil until they’re golden on both sides. Put them on a rack in the oven that you have turned to warm.
FYI, the easy way to wash your cheesecloth is to drape it over the things in the top shelf of your dishwasher. Then hang it on a towel bar to dry, fold it up and put it back in the drawer until next time.
Once those are done, take about a half-pound of thick-sliced pastrami, cut it into wide strips crossways of the slices, and sear them in a tiny bit of oil in the skillet you’re going to fry the eggs in. (Yes, the canonical eggs Benedict recipe would have you poach the eggs. Serious Eats called for poached eggs. I, however, have never poached an egg in my life, and see no real reason to start now.) You just want the pastrami good and warmed all the way through. Take it up onto some foil, fold it over loosely, and stash that in the warm oven as well.
Then make your Hollandaise. Melt a stick of butter, and while that’s happening, separate four eggs and put the yolks in your blender. Add the juice of one lemon, a touch of Tabasco, a little salt, and blend until they lighten in color. Then, with the blender running, pour the hot butter in a very slow stream through the hole in the top of the blender. Pour that up in an oven-proof measuring cup or similar vessel, cover it, and sit it on the back of the stove where it’s warm.
Now, timing gets critical. Get your plates out. Fry your eggs. As soon as you crack two eggs in your skillet, or however many you can fry at a time, parepare two plates by putting two latkes on a plate, and a pile of pastrami on each of them. By that time, the eggs should be about ready to add to the stack. Top with Hollandaise, and prepare to swoon.
This stuff is killer good for the first few bites, until the overwhelming richness begins to…well, overwhelm. Then it’s just killer. The way the runny yolk of the egg blends with the Hollandaise and seeps into the latke…Yeah. Like that.
Worth making once when you’re in the notion for excess. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em just be sure you’ve got the phone handy so you can call 911.