Crispy Potato Latkes

Happy Hanukkah!! If you celebrate the holiday, you know it just wouldn't be that eight night festival without something fried in oil, so today I'm sharing the latke or potato pancake recipe I've been making for ages. 

Crispy Potato Latkes

Funny how certain foods have such specific memories associated with them. Latkes always make me think about my Grandpa. He loved them so much that I didn't really mind the grating, the frying, the tears from the onions! He was such a gentle, adoring, undemanding man that pleasing him came easily and every year I would make a big batch for him, even when I had little kids hanging off me. I wish he could still be here to taste and enjoy these!

This is a really simple classic recipe that I'm sure you could vary in many ways...I just never do. I don't really fry things too much so when I make these once a year, everyone is happy to have the traditional kind. Feel free to use sweet potato, zucchini, or other veggies and mix it up.

You start by grating 4 potatoes which you can either do by hand or in the food processor. If you want really crispy latkes, you then have to wring out as much water as possible, which you can do by squeezing handfuls of the grated potatoes over the sink or by what I call "the towel method", or by a combination of both, which is what I usually do.

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Once the grated potatoes are as dry as possible, you sprinkle them with lemon juice to keep them from getting brown and then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Then you form little patties and drop them into hot oil, letting them cook on both sides till golden brown.

Once done, you let them drain on paper towels--

And then serve them immediately with applesauce and/or sour cream. These are crispy, full of potato and onion flavor and bit greasy, but in just the right way. Fry up a batch of these and have yourself a rock 'n roll Hanukkah!!

Crispy Potato Latkes

Makes about 18-24, depending on the size
Prep Time:  20 minutes:  Cook Time:  About 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 large Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and grated, either by hand or in food processor.
  • Half of a lemon, squeezed
  • 1 large or two small onions, grated
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour or 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying, any kind except olive (I used canola)
  • Applesauce & Sour Cream (optional) to serve on the side

The Recipe

1.  Place a towel on the counter and put grated potatoes on it. Roll up the towel and wring it out to remove excess liquid from the potatoes. Then take small handfuls and squeeze them out over the sink. It's important to have really dry potatoes in order to get crispy latkes.

2.  Put the potatoes in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss. Mix in the grated onions, eggs, flour or matzo meal, salt and pepper. Using about 1/4 cup of oil, heat a large skillet until oil is very hot.

3.  Carefully, drop small patties of the potato mixture into the hot oil and press down on each one with a spatula to flatten a bit. Let cook on one side till edges are golden brown about 3-4 minutes and then flip to continue cooking on the other side. When golden brown, remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain. Continue with rest of mixture till done.

4. Either serve immediately or keep warm in a 250ºF oven till ready to serve. You can make these early in the day for later that night and just leave at room temperature and reheat in the low oven before serving to crisp them up. Recipe also doubles and triples well. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Enjoy!

Note:  Recipe based on Potato Latkes from Mama Leah's Jewish Kitchen.

 

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