Lotsa Luscious Latkes

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the Sundays with Marlena project that three bloggers are undertaking here in Sacramento. (They’re actually also posting on Wednesdays, as it turns out, or else they’d be testing recipes until 2011.) Melody asked if I’d be interested in trying the recipe for latkes–the traditional potato pancakes served for Hanukkah. Well, I’ve made latkes before (I think), but it’s been a while. I discovered a few tricks, although I’m sure there are many more to this seemingly easy recipe. Fine-tuning it is what makes the potatoes taste crisp and melty and not just starchy. Once you get the method though, these are quick to turn out and delicious with apple sauce and sour cream or, as I found out, nonfat honey-flavored Greek-style yogurt!

adapted from Jewish Cookingby Marlena Spieler
Makes about 12
1 large (about 1 pound) Idaho (russet) potato
1/2 white onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons matzo meal (available in the kosher section of most groceries)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Vegetable oil
Sour cream, yogurt, and/or applesauce for serving

  1. Wash, peel, and grate the potato into a bowl of cold water. This will keep the potato from oxidizing and turning pink, then black (very unappetizing).
  2. Grate or finely chop the onion (I used a Cuisinart with the metal blade). Combine it in a medium bowl with the egg, matzo meal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon). You can also add Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste.
  3. Drain the potatoes and squeeze as much water out of them as possible. Quickly mix them with the other ingredients to form the latke batter.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. When it shimmers, add 3-tablespoon portions of batter to the pan and flatten them slightly so that they are fairly evenly thick. Let the latkes sizzle and, when they begin to turn brown at the edges, flip them over. They will cook for about 2 minutes on each side. When the second side is brown, remove the latkes to a plate lined with a paper towel. Reheat the pan with more oil and cook more latkes in the same way.
  5. These are best served fresh and hot, but can be reheated fairly successfully in a warm pan for a minute on each side.

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