Nothing says “Hanukkah” more than latkes! But they are actually a delicious addition to any meal, year round. (And you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy them.) This Bubbe is fairly new to the latke game and I’m not adept at the use of electric appliances, so these are handmade with lots of love (and oil). They are a bit on the time intense side … turn on some music, pour a glass of wine or eggnog and put on an apron.
The five basic ingredients are simple and available year-round at our Grocery Outlet and the cost is about 50 cents per serving. I find the best way to mix and form the patties is with my hands; a bit messy but the results speak for themselves.
A few tips:
- Russet potatoes are the best; they have a high starch content and will hold together better than other types.
- Use good quality canola or vegetable oil for frying. They have high smoke points and allow the latkes to cook in the center without burning the edges. You can reuse the oil by pouring through a strainer back into the container after it has fully cooled.
- You can make in advance, freeze in a single layer or between parchment paper, and then reheat in the oven. These tend to be a bit denser and not as crispy as serving immediately upon frying, but it does allow you to be out of the kitchen to greet guests.
Traditionally, latkes are served with sour cream and applesauce on the side. I take these out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving to take the chill off. Horseradish is also a yummy topping, especially if you are serving with brisket as I did. Feel free to get fancy with your garnish: green onions, sprigs of dill, capers or even caviar make for a nice presentation and add a pop of flavor.
Latke size is up to you. If you want to make them small, use 1/3 cup of the batter per pattie. I like them about 3 inches wide, which is closer to a half cup per pattie. Always make more than you think you’ll need … trust me, they will get eaten!
You can get creative with the leftovers (if there are any!) the next morning: heat up and serve with lox and a fried egg on top or go the hash-brown route and top with ketchup or hot sauce.
Variations: Substitute or add other grated root vegetables (onion, garlic, parsnip, carrot, beet, etc.) or apples, herbs or flavored bread crumbs for a different taste. When serving children and those with allergies, I stick with the basics.
- 5 lbs russet potatoes (get the biggest ones you can find; it makes the grating easier)
- 5 large eggs
- 4 level teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups matzah meal (or bread crumbs)
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Applesauce (optional)
- Sour cream and/or horseradish (optional)
- Garnish (green onions, chives, capers, caviar – optional)
- Peel the potatoes and place in cold water until you are ready to grate.
- Coarsely grate potatoes using a box grater or food processor.
- Place in a fine sieve and press down firmly with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Repeat three or four times with fresh paper towels until liquid is mostly drained. (You can also place in cheesecloth and squeeze out the moisture.) If you let the mixture sit more than 10 minutes, it will become purply colored. Not a problem as you will fry them golden brown and the taste is not at all affected.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk until yolks and whites are combined.
- Combine the matzah meal (or bread crumbs) with the salt in a small bowl.
- Add one half of the matzah meal/salt mixture to the potatoes and combine well with your hands. Add the other half and combine again.
- Add one half of the eggs to the potato mixture and combine the gooey goodness with your hands. Add the other half and combine again until all ingredients are well distributed.
- Wash your hands.
- Pour a half inch of oil into a deep, large frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. I like to use a cast iron skillet as it holds the heat and I don’t worry about it tipping as I maneuver the patties.
- When the oil sizzles when you flick a drop of water into it, it’s ready to start frying.
- Form a small ball with about 1/2 cup of the batter and place with a slotted spoon into the hot oil. Use the back of the spoon to push down to form a 1/2 inch tall pattie. Fill the pan with patties, be patient and cook for approximately two to three minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. If you flip too early, flip back until they get to the desired doneness.
- Using a slotted spatula, remove the latkes to a paper-towel lined cookie sheet and place in a warm oven. Keep them on a single layer.
- Repeat the frying, replenishing oil as needed and allowing to get to the proper temperature before adding more patties.
- Serve hot as soon as the last batch is done.
Makes approximately 25 three-inch wide latkes.
Go To Tuesdays are weekly recipes from products purchased at the Alameda Grocery Outlet, 730 Buena Vista Ave.
Please let me know if you made the recipe and liked it or would suggest changes. And also feel free to suggest future recipes.
From my family to yours … wishing you a happy holiday season, however you celebrate, filled with light, love and latkes!