Potato Latke with Smoked Salmon, Soft-Boiled Quail Egg & Watercress Cream


This post is highly unethical in the fact i cooked the potato latkes in duck fat. I expect a cease and desist letter from the potato latke council any day now. I have nothing to say for my defense except that 1) i can’t help being French and 2) potato’s best friend is duck fat.. and well…  you have to let these two play together every once in a while. Yes of course you could cook your latkes in clarified butter, or oil or chicken fat but it won’t bring that inimitable ducky flavor to your latkes. If you ever had duck confit you know what i’m talking about. You will be on the right side of the law, though. So the choice is clear. Either you want to take a walk on the wild side with me, or you don’t. No pressure. [wink]


Of course, good Scottish smoked salmon doesn’t hurt either. And a soft-boiled quail egg with a pinch of sel de guerande will make the experience unforgettable. As for the cream of watercress it will certainly make you hit the roof. That’s all. You can trust me, i’ve been compared to a Jewish mama while making latkes before.

I rest my case.

  • Potato Latke with Smoked Salmon, Soft-Boiled Quail Egg & Watercress Cream

  • Inspired by Daniel Boulud
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • potato-latke-with-smoked-salmon-and-watercress-cream-31
    • For the potato latkes:
    • 3 Idaho potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
    • 1 medium onion, grated
    • 2 scallions, chopped
    • 1 large egg, beaten
    • salt & freshly ground black pepper
    • duck fat, for pan frying
    • To serve:
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1 bunch watercress, leaves only
    • 8 ounces Scottish smoked salmon
    • 12 quail eggs
    • sel de guerande
    • For the potato latkes:


    • Squeeze the grated potato in a towel to remove the excess water. Add the grated onion, the chopped scallions, the beaten egg and season with salt & pepper. Mix well.
    • Heat a few tablespoons of duck fat in a large skillet over medium high heat. Form latkes about 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick and add them to the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side.
    • Reserve on paper towels and keep warm.
    • To serve:


    • Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drop the watercress leaves and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and place the leaves in ice water to stop cooking. Squeeze the water out. Add the blanched leaves to the cream and bring to a boil, add salt. Blend the mixture until smooth. Reserve.
    • Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Gently put the quail eggs in the water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running cold water. Carefully peel the shells and slice in half. Sprinkle some sel de guerande on the soft boiled yolk.
    • Arrange the potato latkes on a platter, top with smoked salmon, place a quail egg half on each portion. Drizzle with the watercress cream. Serve immediately garnished with watercress leaves.
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  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    LOL about the duck fat! I should totally do that this weekend! Gorgeous latkes!

  • http://eataduckimust.blogspot.com alice

    ok this settles it. we are coming to new york and crashing your kitchen whether you like it or not. when are you free? 😉

  • http://www.my-easy-cooking.com nina

    Zenman, you are a genius…this is just an amazing starter!!!

  • http://friedwontons4u.com Shao @Friedwontons4u.com

    I never knew potato latkes could look so sexy.

  • http://thecurrypop.blogspot.com uncldee

    Whoa. Nicely done! Thats like a rosti right?

  • http://chimeraobscura.com/mi/ Amy (Minimally Invasive)

    Gorgeous! I can’t wait to make these for breakfast tomorrow.

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com Stacey Snacks

    This Jewish Mama has had your latkes in duck fat and they were FANTASTIC!
    Your version of schmaltz!

  • http://myboyfriendcooksforme.blogspot.com my boyfriend cooks for me

    Oh man, the quantity of drool that just landed on my keyboard…This looks divine. This must be the best way to eat latkes ever (but don’t tell my mom I said that!)

  • http://pithyandcleaver.com maggie

    Nothing wrong with this. Nothing at all.

  • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com Neel | Learn Food Photography

    Liked the sense of humor :) The food styling is very well done and very inspirational. thakn you for this. I am already trying to disintegrate and thinking about using it next time.

    Thank you,

  • Pingback: Potato Latke with Smoked Salmon, Soft-Boiled Quail Egg … Egg Me()

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Eh ben dis donc mon petit chat c’est du direct, là. Action réaction 😀 c’est plus Zenchef c’est Samouraïchef.

    Lou would have *loved* your latke. No doubt.

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    OMG!! These look so damn good!! May I have some?

    Cheers from the sunny & rainy Malaysia!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    Very timely app. and today’s Chanukah. May I have the quails for a main course? 😉

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    I’d compare you to a Jewish mama even away from the stove. Ha ha ha :) (Actually I have no idea what this might mean.) The latkes are looking at me with a very delicious-looking, yellow-irised eye!

    It was nice seeing you that lovely NY day- hope it happens again! :)

  • http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com dawn

    how am i supposed to answer this? wild side with you? oh hell yes…I have champagne too!
    you gotta stop posting all these perfect dishes, you’re killing me. you need to try out for top chef, come on…every person that has won has your talent and charm. I can come to nyc and coax you, but I doubt we’d do that :-X

  • Pingback: Potato Latke with Smoked Salmon, Soft-Boiled Quail Egg … Dollars on Me()

  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    If you got busted for use of duck fat, I’d bail you out just on principle alone. And, I wish my soft boiled eggs looked that good.

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com pigpigscorner

    Agree with you on the duck fats..no sub! Gorgeous presentation, love the egg!

  • http://www.bellabaitaview.blogspot.com Marla

    This sounds divine to me and carry on with the duck fat! making new traditions, hear hear.

  • http://www.stirthepots.com Jeremy

    Oye! Looks delish!

  • http://ouichef.typepad.com Oui, Chef

    Zen – You are the master, of that there is little question. My soon to be 15 year old son is celebrating a birthday next week, and has requested “duck fat potatoes” as part of his birthday meal. A proud father moment to be sure. – S

  • http://www.danidishes.blogspot.com Dani

    Omg. Can I please eat this now?

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com Christine @ Fresh Local

    This is such a timely post, I have duck fat that has been waiting to be used in the fridge. This is perfect, will try this week. Thanks!

  • http://hecooksshecookswecook.com/ Jeff

    If they send you a cease and desist letter we will hire a lawyer and fight them. All we need to do is bring the judge fries cooked in duck fat and we will win instantly.

    If you have a ricer I have found throwing the potato mixture in that and squeezing removes a lot more moisture too.

    You also made me cry a little bit because I miss my watercress plant. *sniff*

    Nicely done!!!

  • http://www.mattikaarts.com/blog matt

    Just had this for lunch, sans the watercress cream. Outstanding. I totally agree with you about potatoes and duck fat. Second only to goose fat in my opinion! (but far easier to source)

  • http://www.tomatokumato.com emiglia

    Haha! Only the French would come up with the brilliant-beyond-brilliant idea to fry latkes in duck fat. I salute you!

  • http://www.norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

    Hahhaha nice! I have a big tub of goose fat sitting in the fridge, I wonder if that’s even more sacrilegious? Love the little quail eggs. I can never seem to get them to peel properly.

  • http://thelittleteochew.blogspot.com The Little Teochew

    Perfect, tantalising food. That’s what you cook. Amazing.

  • http://www.sippitysup.com sippitysup

    That is certainly one elegant little latke. GREG

  • http://mortadifame.blogspot.com Morta Di Fame

    These are utterly gorgeous!

  • Jana

    i am from Slovakia, we call them “placky” and we are making them on pigs or goose fat. soo your wild side is right!! Amazing recipe:-):-):-)