Best Potato Latkes

Amelia Saltsman Recipe By
  • Cooking and Prep: 40 m
  • Serves: 6
  • Contains:

These latkes are thin, crisp, and pan-fried, not deep-fried. My family’s traditional recipe is inspired by Sara Kasdan’s, from her hilarious 1956 cookbook Love and Knishes, which my mother received as a gift nearly sixty years ago. You need a starchy potato for good latkes; the starch helps bind the pancake together. Sierra Gold (a cross between a Yukon Gold and a russet), German Butterball, Kennebec, and King Edward are all wonderful here. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, and it works well with other wintry vegetables. Makes 24 latkes

 

Ingredients (10)

Main ingredients

Start Cooking

Prepare the Batter

  1. Using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor fitted with the grating disk, grate the potatoes. You should have about five cups (730 grams).

  2. Place the potatoes in a sieve to drain.

  3. Grate the onion on the large holes of the box grater or fit the processor with the metal S blade and grate. It should look like pulp; mince or discard any large onion pieces.

  4. In a large bowl, stir together potatoes, onion, flour, salt, baking powder, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir in eggs.

Fry

  1. Line two or three sheet pans with paper towels. Place the prepared pans, the latke batter, a large spoon, and a spatula near the stove.

  2. Heat one or two large skillets over medium heat. Generously film the skillet(s) with oil (not more than 1/4 inch/six millimiters deep).

  3. When the oil is shimmering and a tiny bit of batter sizzles on contact, start spooning in the latke batter, making sure to add both solids and liquid.

  4. Using the back of the spoon, flatten each spoonful into a circle three to four inches (seven and 1/2 to 10 centimeters) in diameter. Do not crowd the latkes in the pan. You’ll get four or five latkes in a 12-inch (30 and 1/2 centimeter) skillet.

  5. Cook the latkes, flipping them once, until golden on both sides, five to six minutes total.

  6. Transfer the latkes to a prepared baking sheet.

  7. Cook the remaining batter in the same way, stirring the batter before adding more to the pan and adding oil as needed at the edge of the pan.

  8. Arrange the latkes on a warmed platter, sprinkle with finishing salt, and serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Variation:

Crisp Parsnip Latkes. Sweet, lemony, and spicy parsnips and applesauce are a fabulous root-and-fruit pairing for latkes. Substitute two pounds (900 grams) juicy-looking medium to large parsnips for the potatoes and use white pepper in place of black pepper. The grated parsnips won't release liquid that requires draining, but they will discolor slightly after they are peeled.

About

Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen copyright 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine.

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