I’m not even a tiny bit Jewish but for some reason, I grew up eating my Nana’s potato latkes. I don’t know where she got the recipe or why she was compelled to make them, all I know is they were delicious.
I rarely make latkes because I have a thing about frying in the house. I’m extremely sensitive to smells and despite enjoying the taste and texture of fried foods, the smell usually puts me off. But this New Year’s Eve, they found their way on to our dinner menu so I decided to bite the bullet, turn on the ceiling vent, open the kitchen door and fry up some latkes.
I searched the internet for recipes and since most latke recipes are pretty similar, I decided to improvise and luckily, it worked. The latkes were so delicious, we made them two nights in a row. Unheard of around here.
Potato Latkes, Two Ways
4-5 medium Russet potatoes
1/4 cup flour
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
a couple of sprigs of finely minced rosemary
(Yes I know, none of these ingredients are strictly traditional but neither am I so there.)
With a box grater or food processor with a grater attachment, grate your scrubbed clean potatoes. There’s no need to peel but if it makes you happy and you don’t want the extra fiber…
Grate your onion as well. Toss both into a large bowl lined with a kitchen towel or double layer cheese cloth and squeeze the heck out of it.
Keep squeezing, you’re going to get a lot of liquid. Discard the liquid that you’ve squeezed out and dump the potatoes and onions back into the bowl. In another bowl, lightly whisk your eggs, salt and pepper and pour over the potatoes and onions. Sprinkle the flour over that and use your hands to mix everything in.
In a frying pan, heat enough oil to come 1/2″ deep. The oil should be hot and you should use an oil appropriate to frying at high temperatures. Peanut oil is ideal but I didn’t have any so I settled for canola.
Scoop up the potato mixture about a 1/4 cup at a time and shape into a patty. I like to set my patty onto my metal spatula and lower it into the oil. Mostly because I am a wuss. I slide my spatula out and use it to press down and flatten my latke. Cook the latkes (You already know not to crowd them in the pan, right? No more than 4 at a time, right?) until the bottom is golden brown all over and flip. Cook until that side is golden brown as well. Remove latkes from the oil, sprinkle with salt and eat immediately. Or, place the latkes on a paper towel lined cookie sheet into a 250 degree oven until all of the latkes are done.
Some people like to get all fancy and top their latkes with sour cream or even worse, sour cream and caviar. Some people like to eat their latkes with applesauce. Me, I like my fried potato patties as they are, starchy, salty and crunchy.
Makes dealing with the nauseating smell of hot oil almost worth it.