By Tina Wasserman
Many years ago, I was making latkes in my daughter’s Sunday School classroom while others were doing the same in their child’s class. People started to come in to see my latkes because they heard that they weren’t gray/black, thin and watery. My recipe is below, with step-by-step instructions to prevent all of the above problems.
One “Tidbit” I can’t save for last is this: I never use russet potatoes. Russets have too much starch and thick skins. When you use white or Yukon Gold potatoes, there is no need to peel. If that doesn’t make you switch your potato choice, I don’t know what would.
Although latkes are a perfect accompaniment to beef or chicken, they can also be made into small rounds and topped with sour cream and caviar for an elegant appetizer.
Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
6-8 large thin-skinned potatoes, California long whites or Yukon Gold (about 3 pounds)
3 eggs, beaten well
1½ tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 medium-large onions (¾-1 pound total), cut into 8 pieces
1 cup matzo meal or cracker meal
Oil for frying
Applesauce, sour cream or caviar for garnish (optional)
1. Grate the raw potatoes using the grating disk on a processor or the largest holes on a grater, if doing it by hand. Place grated potato in a strainer, rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain while you grate onion.
2. Combine eggs, salt and pepper in a 4-quart bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
3. Change to the cutting blade on your processor. Add onions to the work bowl. Pulse on and off five times. Add 1/3 of the grated potatoes to the onion, and pulse on and off to make a coarse paste. Add to the egg mixture along with the matzo meal and stir to combine.
4. Add the remaining drained potatoes to the bowl and mix thoroughly, using a large spoon or your hands.
5. Heat a large frying pan or large skillet for 20 seconds. Add enough oil to cover the pan to a depth of ¼ inch and heat for an additional 20 seconds. Drop mounds of potato mixture into the pan. Fry on both sides until golden. Drain fried latkes on a platter covered with crumpled paper towels. Serve with applesauce and sour cream if desired.
• Grated potatoes turn black when exposed to air. Rinsing the potatoes under running water washes away excess starch and the discoloring culprit.
• Always grate your potatoes separately from your onions; that way, you won’t lose any of the flavorful juice when you drain the potatoes.
• Use an ice cream scoop to get perfectly round latkes. A smaller scoop is perfect for appetizer-sized latkes.
• The best way to drain fried foods is on a plate covered with crumpled paper towels. Crumpling gives more surface area for absorption.
• Never refrigerate latkes.
• Either make earlier in the day and keep at room temperature before reheating in a 400-degree oven.
• Or fry, cool to room temperature, freeze on lined baking sheet and, when frozen, put into a freezer bag. Make sure you use a straw and suck out all the air in the bag so no ice crystals form on the latkes.
• When ready to cook, just place frozen latkes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and reheat in a 425-degree oven until crisp and bubbly around the edges.