I never had occasion to eat latkes until I met Alex. My first attempt was about two years ago, and having never eaten them, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing when I first made them, despite assiduously consulting my thrifted copy of The Jewish-American Kitchen. They turned out delicious, but also heavy, greasy, and way too thick in the middle as Alex politely informed me after I had already made them.
Over time, however, I have mastered the technique. If you want more explanation, this month’s Bon Appetit magazine has a spot-on article about latkes. My key to success? Think light thoughts. No sumo wrestlers in pointe shoes. Only light thoughts. Like butterflies and tiny icicles and snowflake kisses. No dense pancakes here. Light and crisp, light and crisp–these are the words I say to myself while I form the cakes. ‘Tis the season of light (and crisp, light and crisp), indeed!
Makes about 20 latkes
– 3 russet potatoes
– 1 yellow onion
Peel and shred the veggies using the wide holes on a box grater. Place in a clean kitchen towel over an empty bowl. When you’re finished, wring out the moisture through the towel (there will be a lot).
Get a frying pan heating up on medium-high heat on the stovetop. Also heat your oven to 200F and put a wire cooling rack atop a baking sheet in the oven for keeping the latkes warm while you fry up the rest.
– 2 lightly beaten eggs
– 1/4 cup (or a bit less) all-purpose flour
– salt and pepper
Add to the potato/onion mixture in a large bowl. Fold to combine with a spoon or fork.
Heat enough oil in your frying pan to comfortably cover the bottom of the pan. Form latkes by gently shaping batter into a small cake (think light and crispy – you don’t want it too dense).Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until they turn a lovely caramel brown color. Slide each into the oven to keep warm (and crisp) until you’re ready to plate. (But watch out – they may disappear before you have a chance to do so!). Repeat until you’ve used all the batter. Serve warm with applesauce (or other sauce of your choice).