It’s a classic Hanukkah recipe! Cookbook author and recipe developer Danielle Renov, author of “Peas, Love and Carrots”, joined us all the way from Israel to teach us how to make perfect potato latkes.
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Say bye bye to a house that smells like fried food for days and oil splatters on your clothing! It comes down to technique. Simple ingredients, treated properly to maximize what they can do for you in terms of flavor and texture. That’s what this page is about. If you want to use your grandmother’s recipe and amounts, I say, go for it. Just apply the few simple but important techniques here and your latkes will be crispy and delicious every time!
Makes about 30 (2 inch) latkes
5 1/2 lb/ 2.4 k red waxy potatoes (a few ounces more or less will not make a difference), peeled
Peel potatoes and place in a bowl of very cold water (peeled potatoes can stay in cold water in the fridge for a whole day before using).
Set up 3 bowls. In one bowl place a colander or fine mesh strainer.
Using the “E” blade of your food processor or the small hole grater of your box grater (the one that looks like spikey circles) to grate the onion.
Remove potatoes from water and dry them.
Grate half the potatoes in a food processor fitted with the “E” blade.
Next, switch the blade of the food processor to the fine shredder (“C” blade). Grate the remaining potatoes.
Add the contents of the food processor to the prepared colander.
Working quickly, remove a few handfuls of potato mixture and place onto the center of a tea towel.
Gather the four corners of the towel and, over the second bowl, twist and squeeze the towel tightly to extract as much liquid as possible from the potatoes.
DO NOT DISCARD THE LIQUID YET.
Add the drained potato mixture, which should now be very dry, to the third bowl.
Continue this process until all the potato mixture has been squeezed and is now dry and in the third bowl.
Gently pour out all the liquid that was collected from the first two bowls until you reach the starchy layer that has accumulated on the bottom.
Use a spoon to scrape up the starch and add that to the potato mixture.
Add eggs and salt to potato and starch, and mix to combine everything. (I think it’s easiest to mix this by hand, wearing a disposable glove).
Place a frying pan over medium high heat.
Add 1/4- 1/2 cup oil (the amount will vary depending on how wide your pan is. You’re looking for a little less than 1/4 inch up the side of the pan.)
Add 1 carrot piece to the oil to absorb any unwanted “brown oil” that occurs from burned bits, and leave it there the whole time you are cooking.
Set up a cooling rack over a piece of foil or parchment paper to place fried latkes on.
Add 2 tablespoons potato mixture to the hot pan and use the back of a spoon to flatten the patty.
Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side, until you see the edges darkening, and then flip and cook for 2 minutes on the second side.
Transfer latkes to a cooling rack to drain.
Serve hot and enjoy!
TIPS + TRICKS:
-Waxy potatoes make better latkes than Idaho potatoes.
-Using 2 types of graters for the potatoes provides a soft creamy inside and a super crispy outside.
-Do not form perfect round latkes and then put it in the pan. Plop a scoop in the pan and flatten with a spoon. All those “strands” that stick out will get super crispy and be the best part of the latke.
-If you don’t have a cooling rack, use a rack from your oven!
-To keep warm or reheat, place entire cooling rack in a 200F/95C oven, uncovered. Alternatively, place latkes in a single layer on a baking sheet, uncovered, at the same temperature. The rack method will yield a better result but a baking sheet will still work!
*FUN FACT: There is no official name for that side of the box grater. I therefore dub that side of the box “The small prickly grater.” Please inform Webster. Thank you.
Credit line: Excerpted from Peas Love and Carrots by Danielle Renov. Copyright 2020 by ArtScroll Mesorah Publications, photos by Moshe Wulliger. Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. All rights reserved.
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