I've never entered a latke-making contest, I've never even tried to come up with one on my own. That doesn't mean I'm not one of the great latke eaters of our time. When my grandmother was alive she would sometimes make a hundred latkes at chanukah. I'm sure she never used a recipe, and if she did, it was never passed on to us. So about ten years ago, when we started hosting my family's Chanukah party I searched high and low for a latke recipe that could withstand the intense scrutiny the Levine family would subject the recipe to. That's where Lydie Marshal's Passion for Potatoes comes in. It's a terrific all-potato-all-the-time cookbook, and it has the most delicious, foolproof latke recipe I have ever come across. In fact Marshall adapted the recipe from Raymond Sokolov and Susan Friedland's book, The Jewish-American Kitchen. How good is this recipe? The loud and loquacious Levine family is sometimes silent as they chow down on these latkes.
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 large onion, peeled
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- About 1/2 cup peanut oil, light olive oil, or rendered chicken fat
Peel and grate the potatoes using the largest holes on a 4-sided grater. If you prefer to use a processor, fit it with the grater with the largest holes and shred.
Grate the onion in the same manner.
Transfer the grated potatoes and onion to a kitchen strainer placed over a large bowl. Press out the excess moisture with a wooden spoon and transfer the vegetables to another bowl.
Pour off all the liquid from the first bowl, leaving behind the potato slarch that settles at the bottom.
Spread several layers of paper towels flat on the counter. Heat 1/3 cup oil or rendered chicken fat in a large nonstick skillet. When the fat is hot, quickly drop in about 3 tablespoons of potato-onion mixture and flatten it out to a 3 1/2-inch disk; repeat twice. (You should be able to make 3 latkes at a time.) Peek after 1 minute, and when the underside is golden brown, turn the latkes over and fry the other side until golden brown.
Remove the latkes with a skimmer, draining the fat back into the skillet, and place them on paper towels. Transfer them to a preheated platter and keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you fry the rest.
Serve with sour cream, yogurt, or applesauce.