Recently my best friend asked me to help her make potato pancakes. She came to me, Bon Appétit magazine in hand, and said, "I want to make these." Their picture displayed a delectable dish with crisp, flaky potato pancakes.

In our version the pancakes were chunkier because we ran into food-processing problems. Instead of serving the latkes on the side, we plated the pancakes on top of the salad. Although the picture might not have been as artistic, the salad was delicious, and it was something I would definitely make again. To experiment with your own version, get the recipe;


Potato Latkes With Watercress Salad
From Bon Appétit magazine

2 cups finely chopped onions, divided
1 large egg
1 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Vegetable oil (for frying)
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. sherry wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
2 large bunches watercress, thick stems trimmed (about 8 cups)
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, diced
4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into strips

  1. For latkes: line colander with kitchen towel.
  2. Stir 1 1/2 cups onions, egg, salt, and pepper in large bowl.
  3. Place remaining 1/2 cup onions in processor; add potatoes. Blend until potatoes are very finely chopped and some of mixture is pureed; transfer to prepared colander. Wrap towel around potatoes, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
  4. Scrape into bowl with egg mixture. Stir in all purpose flour and baking powder.
  5. Heat 4 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Drop potato mixture by scant 1/4 cupfuls into skillet; flatten each latke to 2 1/2-inch round with metal spatula. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat, adding more oil to skillet as needed. Latkes can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
  7. Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake latkes until crisp and deep brown, about 6 minutes per side.
  8. For salad: whisk oil, vinegar, and dry mustard in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Combine watercress, avocado, and salmon in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat.
  10. Arrange 2 latkes on each plate. Mound salad alongside. Alternately mound salad on a plate and place 2 latkes on top of the salad.

Serves 8.