The Latke Rule You Should Never Break, According To Andrew Zimmern

We are constantly being told that fried foods are bad, think of your cholesterol, baked is best, blah, blah, blah. There's one time of year, however, where you should absolutely ignore such advice, at least if you're celebrating Hanukkah. Andrew Zimmern points out that Hanukkah is all about a miracle involving oil (the oil that kept the Temple menorah lit for an unbelievable 8 days, as per The DLG B), so he does not endorse baked latkes. Zimmern also has some rather emphatic opinions on how you should make those latkes, starting with the potatoes you use. As Zimmern shares in his latke-making video, new potatoes (those small red ones) simply will not do (via Andrew Zimmern). Instead, he prefers to use a mixture of Yukon Gold and baking potatoes, typically Idahos. In case you're wondering, he uses canola oil to do his frying, too. Olive oil and coconut oil, trendy though they may be, are not well-suited forĀ deep frying.

Once you've cooked your latkes to perfection (or not), there's still room for error. Zimmern has some fairly strong feelings about condiments. Not only does he have his preferences for which ones are to be used (Spoiler: ketchup is right out), but how and when they are to be applied.

Andrew Zimmern says the applesauce should go first

Andrew Zimmern is a traditionalist through and through when it comes to his latkes. He uses just two toppings, these being sour cream and plain applesauce. When an off-camera interviewer told Zimmern of Bobby Flay's suggestion to spike the applesauce with green chiles, he responded only by wishing Flay mazel tov on his birthday, which just so happens to coincide with the first day of Hanukkah this year. Sweet of him to remember, but it still amounted to the nicest possible brush-off of Flay's not-traditional take on latke toppings.

While a Smithsonian article suggests that latkes should be eaten with either sour cream or applesauce, Zimmern goes big and uses both. He also insists that there's a specific order that must be followed. In Zimmern's own words, "This is important: Do not put sour cream first" (via Andrew Zimmern). The reason for doing so is because sour cream and hot pancakes makes a big sloppy mess. If you add sour cream directly to the latkes, it will melt and run all over the place. Instead, Zimmern explains, "You put the applesauce on first, and that kind of cools them down a little bit 'coz you don't want to eat these unless they're hot, right?" He does, however, allow that should your latkes become lukewarm, you can always reheat them in the oven at 375 F for 5 minutes until they're hot and crisp once more.