08 Dec 2015 Scrumptious Classic Potato Latkes
“Another latke recipe,” you might be wondering…and you’re right! But don’t delete this email just yet…Why am I sending out a latke recipe, to add to the plethora of recipes already out there? Because these latkes are supremely delicious and tasty…they are crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. After a number of people asked me for my recipe over the past couple of days, I decided to share my latke “secrets” with all of you…Just don’t tell my kids I gave away the secrets to what they call “The Best Latkes”!
And if you’re looking for low-fat and healthier latkes, this recipe is not for you. It’s Chanukah, the Yom Tov of the miracle of oil. And so, once a year, as we commemorate and remember the brave Macabbees and the miracle of the sole flask of oil that lasted for eight days, we go with full-fat and full-flavor!
Please read through the entire recipe before making these latkes, as there are crucial steps and techniques that cannot be omitted. They are a bit of a patchka – not that I want to scare you off before you have even started – but the results are well worth the once-a-year-effort. Feel free to halve the recipe if you like; but I like to make a large batch and rewarm any leftover latkes in a hot oven…which is a lot easier than making them again!
Scrumptious Classic Potato Latkes
Peel one 5 lb. bag of Yukon Gold (or yellow-flesh) potatoes. Set peeled potatoes aside. (Do not substitute a different kind of potato; no Idaho, red skinned, or white. Use only yellow flesh potatoes for this recipe.)
In the bowl of the food-processor fitted with the “S-blade,” puree 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped, and 5 eggs. The mixture will be pale yellow and frothy. Transfer the egg-onion mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Change the blade of the processor to the grater blade (no one wants to grate 5 pounds of potatoes by hand!). Working in batches of five potatoes (or so) at a time, you will grate the potatoes.
This next step is crucial: do not skip over it. Transfer the first batch of grated potatoes to a fine mesh sieve, which is suspended over another (empty) bowl. This will allow the extra water (and there is a lot of it) to drain out of your potatoes. While that batch is draining, grate the next round of potatoes in the processor. Squeeze the potatoes in the sieve out (more water will come out) and transfer the strained potatoes to the bowl with the egg-onion mixture. Then put the next batch of grated potatoes in the sieve. Do NOT yet, under any circumstances, throw out the water that has drained from the grated potatoes. Allow it to accumulate in the bowl under the sieve, as you drain each batch of grated potatoes.
Continue with this method – grate, drain, mix – until you have grated and drained all of the potatoes. Season the batter with 2 tsp. sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp. salt, and a light sprinkle of black pepper. Add 3-4 more beaten eggs to the batter.
Now go back to your bowl of potato water and pour off the water. On the bottom of the bowl, you will see a nice, thick, white layer of potato starch. (This is actually very cool and the kids love this part.) Using a spatula, scrape up the starch and mix it into your potato latke batter.
You are now ready to fry! I like to use two fry pans at a time, so the frying time isn’t eight days long 🙂
Heat a neutral/mild-flavored oil (I use canola oil) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 3-4 whole baby carrots (yes, baby carrots) to each fry pan. The carrots will keep your oil clean throughout the frying process. It’s amazing and it works. Don’t skip this step! (Many thanks to a friend who taught me this great trick last year.)
Using a slotted spoon, scoop up a nice-size amount (small mound) of potato batter. Squeeze the mound of batter out against the spoon. Yes, you need to quickly squeeze each latke you shape. The less water you have, the fluffier your latkes will be.
Gently transfer the potato mound to the hot oil. Fry on one side, until that side is golden brown. Gently flip the browned-on-one-side latke over and fry the other side till golden brown. Transfer the beautiful latkes (they will be beautiful) to a 9×13 foil pan, lined well with paper towels (okay…we are trying to drain some of that oil out!). Keep the foil pan in a warm place until all the latkes are fried. Add paper towels to the pan between latke layers, as necessary.
TIPS: *Keep in mind that you will need to add more oil to the pan in between batches. *If your carrots turn brown, feel free to remove them and add more to the pans at any time, as necessary. *It is also helpful to form (i.e.: squeeze and shape) your latke mounds while your fry pans are busy with a previous batch. This is a great time saver. Arrange the raw latkes on a flat plate till the fry pans are free.
Serve your Scrumptious Classic Potato Latkes hot, with applesauce…or just plain and straight-up for authentic, delicious, Chanukah flavor.
בתאבון וחנוכה שמח!