Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I used to loathe potatoes (the devil's tuber!) but I really love latkes. Mashed potatoes are still gross unless they're filled with garlic or a gallon of sriracha sauce to make them taste not nasty.  But latkes are awesome.  This recipe comes from my mother in law.  My husband is the primary chef for this recipe, he's in charge of the frying pans.  That's right, pans.  He's so badass that he uses two frying pans at once!

Before I looked at her recipe, I had issues with my cut potatoes turning brown.  She suggests soaking the potato pieces in a bowl of ice water to preserve their color and it works really well!  These are great when they're crispy, I would definitely err on making them too crispy versus too soft.  I prefer my latkes with some sour cream mixed with fresh dill and topped with sliced green onions.  I served them with a salad so I could pretend that at least part of this meal is healthy.

My husband and I don't make these terribly often.  Usually we make them right when the weather starts getting colder.  At the bottom of this post, you can see a comparison picture of the first latkes we made.  These are much improved!!  The first attempt was crispy around the edges and kind of mushy in the center.

This recipe supposedly serves two people.  We did eat all of the latkes we made.  However, I'd argue that this recipe serves three or four people because it made eight latkes and I completely stuffed myself because I ate four.

I've got a few quick notes about the recipe.  First, use the large holes on your cheese grater to grate the potatoes.  Second, to help them keep their color and remove the excess starch, grate the potato into a bowl of ice water.  Just make sure to press the water out before you fry them!  Third, I used matzo meal to make these. I don't know how well regular flour would work but it's such a small amount I imagine it would be ok. Last, if you can't serve the latkes immediately, drain them on paper towels and tent with foil.  They can also be kept warm in an oven warming drawer but they will lose some of their crispness.

Potato Latkes
from my mother in law
Serves 2 (yeah... no).

canola oil (a lot)
2 baking potatoes
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp matzo meal or flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
1 few Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (optional)
2 green onions (optional)

1) Heat about 1/2 inch canola oil into a nonstick frying pan (keep your oil container handy, you might need to add more). Or use two pans to make them more quickly.
2) While the oil is heating, press all the water out of the potatoes.  Blot them with paper towels if you have to, but make sure you get as much of the water out as you can.  Place the potatoes in a bowl and mix with the egg, onion, salt, and pepper.
3) In equal portions (working one or two at a time), place potato mixture into the oil and form thin, flat "pancakes."
4) Fry until crispy (maybe about 5 minutes per latke, you'll have to eyeball it depending on the size) and then set to drain on some paper towels.
5) Serve plain or with sour cream mixed with dill and topped with green onions.

Here's a comparison shot from my first attempt at these.  My camera wasn't working right at the time, I can tell I took this with my phone.  These were from December 2011.

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