If you’re anything like me — someone who begins each workday with grand ambitious to be startlingly productive, but finds themselves at 4 p.m. most days aimlessly clicking random links shared on social media, trying not to nod off onto their keyboard and wondering if there’s maybe any chocolate anywhere? — you may have found yourself a few weeks ago on that day’s viral food content du jour, an enticing recipe for tater tot waffles.
What could be more delicious than tater tot waffles? Nothing, nope, nada. But it lost me when it called for a bag of frozen tots smashed onto a waffle iron, not because it wouldn’t be delicious or because I have any opposition to frozen tater tots, but because if I ever crossed a bag of them in a dark galley kitchen, the last thing I’d want to do is mash them into something no longer recognizably tot. Essentially, it’s all about the wee cylinder shape for me.
But I couldn’t get the idea of a great shredded and seasoned breakfast potato waffle out of my head and soon turned, as I often do in matters of potato, to the latke. I’m of the opinion that there are few meals that cannot be improved by a coarsely shredded onion and potato pancake, fried until crisp, but at the top of them, I mean, obviously: breakfast. Topped with a crispy egg.*
Of course, since I suspect that you are not snipping chives before 8 most weekday mornings, you might enjoy these, as we did, as breakfast-for-dinner. I especially like b-f-d (also, admittedly, its acronym) on Mondays, whether you always go meatless on Mondays or whether you’re sluggishly recovering from the weekend and want something cozy. Monday mornings — especially ones like this, all cloaked in fog — are hard; tucking the kind of breakfast you’d rather have eaten that morning at the end of the day has a way of making it move along faster.
One year ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Two years ago: Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
Three years ago: Apple and Honey Challah
Four years ago: Single-Crust Plum and Apple Pie
Five years ago: Snickerdoodles and Look What We Baked!
Six years ago: Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella
Seven years ago: Cream Cheese Noodle Kugel and Fideos with Chorizo and Almonds
Eight years ago: Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake and Fougasse and Rustic White Bread
I used my standard latke recipe to start, but found it benefitted from an extra egg and a spoonful of extra flour to make the mixture more batter-y for the waffle maker. Black pepper makes it more breakfast-y. I began adding baking powder to my latkes a couple years ago, on a tip from Melissa Clark — it gives them an extra lift that I love. The trickiest part is getting these crisp; waffle irons are giant steam traps, and given how much potatoes steam when they cook, I found I got a more crisp edge after toasting them gently in the oven. This also give you the ability to keep them warm while you cook off the batter, and make some eggs and/or bacon to go on top.
Yield: In my waffle maker, this recipe yielded 3 8-by-10-inch waffles, which break up into 18 smaller rectangles, which I’d say serves 4 to 6.
2 large or 4 medium (2 pounds or just under 1 kg) Russet or baking potato, peeled
1 medium onion (about 6 to 8 ounces), peeled
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons (about 9 grams) table or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 grams) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
Nonstick spray, for waffle iron
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish (totally optional)
Heat oven to 350. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and set aside.
In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer strands, lay the potato sideways in the chute of your food processor. Transfer grated mixture to a bowl lined with a fuzz-free dishcloth (linen is great here) or cheesecloth. Pull up the sides of the cloth, forming a bag of grated ingredients, and twist it until you’ve squeezed out all of the excess liquid. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes, then squeeze out one more time.
Discard the liquid in the bowl, then add wrung-out shredded potato and onion to it. Sprinkle baking powder, salt and several grinds of black pepper over mixture and stir with a fork until it distributes throughout the shreds. Add flour, and again, stir into the potato-onion mixture until the pieces are evenly coated. Crack eggs on top; use your fork to break up the yolks and stir them so that they’re evenly distributed through the batter.
Heat your waffle iron to high heat. Once hot, coat lightly with a nonstick spray. Heap some latke mixture on top and spread it into an even layer. Cook until the latkes are a nice, deep golden brown underneath. (I found that the bottom colors better than the top, but you’ll even this out in the oven.)
Transfer to oiled baking sheet, paler side down, and place in warmed oven. Continue with remaining latke batter. Keep latke waffles in oven until crisp (about 5 to 10 minutes), or until all the other parts of your meal are ready.
Serve with applesauce or sour cream, latke-style, or breakfast-style, with eggs and bacon. Sour cream is pretty good with the eggs, too. Chives make it pretty.