Not my grandma’s latkes or my mom’s. Because instead of starchy potatoes, we’re turning to juicy, sweet asparagus. Surprisingly—and thrillingly—these green stalks work just as well come spring. While many asparagus recipes will instruct you to snap or cut off the fibrous woody ends, there’s no need to do that here. Just start grating at the frilly top, work your way down, and stop once you get an inch or two away from your fingertips, tossing whatever is left. As with potato pancakes, you want to be aggressive with how much you wring out the vegetable matter. Squeeze, squeeze, and then squeeze some more. Excess water is the enemy of crispy edges. (And I want the crispy edges—don’t you?) If you don’t have rye flour around, don’t fret. Whole-wheat would provide a similarly nutty, earthy flavor. And, in a pinch, all-purpose works, too, though the overall flavor will be milder. Sour cream and applesauce are my family’s go-to latke accompaniments, and I like to take a similar strategy with sour cream and peach jam. Full-fat Greek yogurt works, too, as would any jammy fruit compote. —Emma Laperruque
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 10 minutes
- Serves 2 to 4
yellow onion (about 1 medium or 2 small), halved and peeled
kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
freshly ground black pepper
Neutral oil, for pan-frying
- Coarsely grate the asparagus, starting at the top and discarding the bottoms. (If any stragglers resist the grater, just finely chop.) Coarsely grate the onion. (Same deal with the stragglers.)
- Add the grated asparagus and onion to a tea towel. Wring and squeeze over the sink to remove as much water as possible.
- Dump the dried asparagus and onion into a bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Stir with a fork until everything is combined.
- Set a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 1/4 inch of oil. When the oil looks shimmery-hot, drop a pinch of the latke mixture in. If it instantly sizzles, you’re good to go.
- Use a cookie scoop or a couple spoons to scoop and drop latkes into the oil (I estimate about 1 1/2 tablespoons per latke). Use a fork to flatten each mound into a pancake. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned, then use two forks to carefully flip. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack or paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with more salt, if you’d like.
- Repeat with the remaining latke mixture until you’ve used all of it up.