Latkes on latkes

IMG_4312Frying up latkes, a tradition that my mother taught me, and her mother taught her, marks the official start to my holiday season. There’s something magical about the sound of sizzling, golden potatoes in a hot cast iron skillet. Making latkes side by side with my Mom makes it a truly special experience.

Tonight, inspired by a Huffington Post article extolling the virtues of Julia Child’s potato galette, a French latke, of sorts, we tried out a new technique: pre-steaming our potatoes. Keeping the rest of my recipe the same, the addition of a pre-steaming step was a huge success.

In case you’re considering whipping up a batch of latkes yourself, you’ll need:

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs or finely crushed matzo crackers
  • approximately 1 cup of olive oil

STEP ONE:

Scrub potatoes clean. Steam until potatoes are firm, but you can easily insert a knife (anywhere from 15-20 minutes, depending on your potatoes) . Special thanks to Food52 for showing me how to steam without a steamer.

STEP TWO:

Once the potatoes are steamed. Remove from your steamer (or makeshift steamer) and place on a plate. Let them thoroughly cool. I started mine out on the counter top for about 2 hours and then popped them in the fridge to speed up the cooling process (I simply couldn’t wait for my latkes  any longer).

 

STEP THREE:

Peel your cooled, steamed potatoes. The potato skin should slide right off without difficulty with the aid of a knife. Next, grate your potatoes on the large side of your cheese grater (too fine and you’ll lose the crispy, crunch latke edges I love so much).

STEP FOUR:

Crack and beat three eggs. Stir in salt, black & cayenne pepper. Combine the egg mixture with your grated potatoes and bread crumbs.

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STEP FIVE:

Heat approximately 1/4 inch of olive oil in a cast iron skillet. While the oil is heating, you can start shaping your potatoes latke mixture into pancakes. I make each pancake with about 3 Tbsp of mixture, keeping the the pancake to 1/2″ or less in thickness. They fry up best this way.

 

STEP SIX:

Once the oil is hot, fry one pancake until brown on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Once cool, taste to ensure that you’re happy with your salt & pepper ratio. If not, now’s your chance to add a bit more spice. Once you’re happy, form pancakes one at a time and place into the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. This recipe should yield 25 potato latkes.

Getting in the holiday spirit, frying #latkes. #happyhanukkah !

A post shared by Ashley Prosper (@gimmieart) on

STEP SEVEN:

You can either serve latkes immediately, or keep them in the oven until they’re all fried and ready to serve. Sour cream, apple sauce and a side of Israeli salad are my accompaniments of choice, but potatoes go well with just about everything. Enjoy!

 

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