January 01, 2021. Happy New Year! I made a version of latkes for a family Super Bowl party years ago and they were such a big hit they eventually evolved to take center stage as part of our New Year’s Day celebration. Our standard latke platter is pretty straight forward- a lot o’ latkes with bowls of sour cream and homemade applesauce on the side, so that’s where we’ll start. Stay tuned for a few more latke recipe posts over the upcoming days- one that uses latkes as sandwich buns for another fun take on the Citizen Caine and another using the latke mix as a coating for a vegetarian and vegan version of a Scottish Egg.
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 9-13 minutes/batch
Servings: 6-8 for most, but 4 for our family (about 15-20 latkes)
GET YOUR STUFF OUT
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed and shredded with box grater or food processor
- 1 cup onions of your choice, grated or minced- l like a yellow onion- 3/4 cup and scallion-1/4 cup combo- you’ll have to mince scallions since they don’t grate so well
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- starch from potatoes (see recipe)
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons of Wondra or other flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or herb of your choice, minced
- canola oil for shallow frying
- sour cream and applesauce (recipe below) for serving
- chives, snipped with scissors or minced for garnish (optional)
Latke Ratio. If you’re scaling the recipe up or down, for every 1 pound of potatoes, add 1/3 cup of onions, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1/3 teaspoon baking powder and 1 tablespoon of herbs.
COOK AND PLAY
Play Applesauce by Sam.Sts to get you in the mood to make some applesauce for your latkes. Oh, and you should make the applesauce before you make the latkes.
1. Get The Water Out. Set a colander in a large bowl, fill it with potatoes and onions, season with salt/pepper and mix it all up- squeezing and pressing down to get as much water out of the mix and down into the bowl as you can. After that, squeeze and press a bit more to be sure!
2. Don’t Dump Out the Potato Sludge! Place the colander with potato mix on a plate to the side of the bowl- it will drip more liquid- just you wait and see. You will see murky potato “juice” in the bowl and lurking at the bottom will be a layer of sticky potato starch that you want to keep in the bowl (along with the flour, it helps bind everything together and adds a bit more crisp, in my opinion), so carefully pour out the brown juice, leaving the starch behind.
3. The Last of The Mix. To the starch, stir in eggs, flour, baking powder and parsley and then thoroughly mix in potato and onion mixture.
4. Form Latkes. Form latkes, using a 1/4 cup measuring cup to make patties with your clean hands, to place on a baking sheet before you start frying,
5. Fry “Em Up! Set up a large and deep saute pan over medium high heat and fill it with about a 1/2 inch of oil. Carefully, lay in latkes with a spatula, starting at 12 o’clock and moving clockwise, adding another latke every 10-15 minutes until you’re at about 10 o’clock- the clock work helps you keep track of which latkes you’ve added first for when it comes time for flipping. Adjust heat to about 350 degrees to make sure there is a steady simmer of oil and cook on each side until golden brown and crispy- about 4-6 minutes on the first side and 3-5 minutes on the second side.
6. Blot Dry and Hold. While latkes are frying, set up a rack in a rimmed baking sheet, with a few paper towels or a kitchen towel on one half. When latkes are brown and crispy, carefully remove from oil, wick off oil on both sides with towel(s). Move to uncovered section of rack and season with a bit more salt while they’re hot if you like. Latkes can be held in a 200 degree oven while other batches cook.
7. Serve. Arrange latkes on large platter with a bowl of applesauce and bowl of sour cream on the side- snip some chives over everything if you want to add some fresh color.
Quick Recipe: 1 Ingredient* Applesauce. It will take you about 7 minutes to peel and prep apples and 15 minutes to cook them saucy to get about 3 cups of applesauce. Peel and cut, into 2 inch chunks, 1.5 pounds of sweet, tender apples, like Gala, Ambrosia or Fuji, and 1.5 pounds of tart, tender apples, like Cortland, McIntosh or Empire. Put apples, with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and splash of lemon juice, if you have it, and about a cup of water (just enough to thinly coat the bottom of your pot) into a big pot over high heat. Cover, stirring every 4 or so minutes, until apples are soft enough to mash up into a sauce- about 10-15 minutes. Mash them up with the mashing device of your choice (In the last image below- the bottom sauce was mashed with a potato masher and the top with a stick blender). If you want, although I never want (especially in 1 Ingredient Applesauce), you can sweeten (sugar, maple syrup, honey) and/or spice (cinnamon, ginger, etc) your sauce up before you serve it warm, room temp or cold! *No- salt, lemon juice and water don’t count as ingredients. Why- “Because I said so!”. in my most annoying Dad Voice.
Even Easier Applesauce. A food mill is probably something you kids won’t have in your college kitchen, but it’s a great time saver to get one day. In this recipe, a food mill would save you the time of peeling the apples because as you use the food mill to puree the apples (using the disc insert with medium holes), the skins are left behind. Also, a food mill is great for very smooth mashed potatoes and removing seeds and skins when making fresh tomato sauce.
Hey, I’m Fryin’ Here! As you may have guessed, your frying technique can really affect the quality of your latkes, so if you haven’t checked it out or need a refresher, click right here for some great and safe frying tips in The Lecture from my Fried Green Tomato Salad post.
A Lesson About Latkes. One of my best friends is an accomplished latke maker and this year he was beside himself when his wife brought home frozen, shredded potatoes for their Hanukkah latkes instead of fresh potatoes. He had no trouble expressing his dismay to her, but having no choice but to use the frosted potatoes, he carried on. He dropped the frozen chards into a bowl and let a few minutes pass to take the chill off, as he prepped his other ingredients and preheated an air fryer- apparently, while the form of potato was a problem, it was OK to skimp on the traditional amount of oil that commemorates the miracle of the oil. He then tossed the half frozen potatoes with his egg slurry and hoped for the best. As it turns out, he tells me (but not his wife after he made such a fuss= smart man) they were the best latkes he’s ever made. I will for sure try frozen, shredded potatoes next time I make latkes because, if there as close to as good as he says (not sure I’m on board with air frying, but you kids might be), the amount of time you can save by not having to grate the potatoes and clean up the mess from said grating is a game changer!
Keyword: potatoes, latkes, shallow frying, applesauce, celebrations
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