Having called his catering company Feast & Fêtes, Daniel Boulud—the celebrated chef behind the Michelin-star-bearing New York restaurant Daniel—knows a thing or two about holiday cooking. When we asked him to come up with a dish for Passover, Boulud took a page out of the Hanukkah cookbook and suggested we fry up a latke.
With no flour necessary, the fried potato pancake, Boulud said, is a perfect combination of textures, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. And to augment that other, tired Passover staple, the gefilte fish, Boulud’s latkes are topped with smoked salmon, with a quail egg thrown in as a bit of elegant finish.
“I think it’s a dish that has no cultural bounds,” Boulud said, “but I hope it is also a small tribute to my many Jewish patrons and their joyful embrace of good food and food memories.”
Potato Latkes With Smoked Salmon, Quail Eggs, and Watercress
Makes 40 Latkes
20 quail eggs
1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
3 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoons minced chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 bunch watercress (about 6 ounces), leaves only
6 ounces sliced smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch squares
2 tablespoons minced chives
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl. Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water and cook for exactly 2 minutes. Drain immediately, then transfer the eggs to the ice-water bath. When cooled, drain and carefully peel the eggs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Squeeze the grated potato with your hands to remove the excess water; place in a medium bowl. Add the scallions, lightly beaten eggs, parsley, and chives; season with salt and pepper; and toss well to combine.
Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Form latkes that are about 1½ inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. When the oil is hot, add some latkes to the pan. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, then flip over and cook until crisp and golden brown on the bottom and tender on the inside, another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding olive oil as needed. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately, or reheat to serve later.
Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the watercress and stir until well combined; remove from heat. Puree the heavy cream-and-watercress mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate until cool.
Using a whisk or a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the watercress cream until it forms soft peaks. Season with salt and pepper. Cut the quail eggs in half lengthwise and place a half on each warm latke. Drape a salmon square around each egg and garnish with a dollop of the watercress cream and a sprinkling of chopped chives. Serve immediately.