On the Trail

Latkes and Bubbles

Cindy Westby
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Second stop on my holiday food adventures: latkes and Champagne! (with a brief nod to brisket and Bordeaux)

For the record I am not Jewish, but I am definitely not going to let that stop me from enjoying some classic and delicious holiday pairings. 

Latkes – why don’t I make these more often? 2:1 ratio of russet potato and onion shredded on the big holes of a grater, seasoned with salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess moisture out in a kitchen towel; dump into a bowl.

Stir in an egg and a bit of flour (or potato flour). Drop by tablespoons into a pre-heated cast iron skillet with 1/8 inch of oil. Adjust the temperature so you get about 4 minutes cooking on each side; transfer to 250 degree oven to keep warm. Toppings are optional, sour cream and applesauce, very traditional. But I wouldn’t kick crème fraiche and caviar out of bed, either.  Warm, salty and crispy latkes are just begging for a glass of Champagne, like this all-Chardonnay Bonville beauty from the village of Avize. Bonville’s freshness and minerality cuts through the richness of the latke, and hints of lemon and green apple provide their own zesty seasoning to the whole experience.  BTW – leftover cooked latkes can be reheated the next day, and if you just happened to have a hot fried egg ready to slip on top… well, aren’t you clever?

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Meet Mr. Latke’s partner in caloric crime, the brisket. A beef brisket is the perfect meal for a chilly December evening. And like most every famous dish – there are a million versions. I like this recipe, and I adamantly agree the dish is greatly improved by making it a day before you plan to serve it.  Comfort food at its finest—soft, flavorful, forgiving, and it makes your kitchen smell fantastic. Plus, if you come into K&L and ask any sales person for a wine that goes with beef brisket, you will have 100% made their day. There are tons of great pairing options! You could go Italian, you could have California Cabernet, Spanish Rioja, and the list goes on and on. But at our house, Bordeaux is king and we had the delicious 2006 Cantemerle. To say that it had perfectly poised old-fashioned Bordeaux freshness just beginning to soften and sweeten up with time, does not do it justice. Don’t miss Ralph and Clyde’s reviews online.

-Cindy Westby