Old Fashioned Latkes

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Great latkes take some time and preparation, but with the right technique and tools are easy to master. If you need to store them for later service, let them drain, then stash them in a 200°F oven with the door slightly ajar for no more than two hours.

These ingredient amounts aren't law; depending on the moisture content of your potatoes, you may need more or less binder, or a different balance of eggs and matzo meal. What's important is that the latke patties don't fall apart in your hands, or they certainly will in the pan. Start with a little egg and matzo meal, then only add as much as you need.

Old Fashioned Latkes

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About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 16 latkes
Active time:1 hour
Total time:1 hour
Special equipment:cast iron skillet, food processor, cheesecloth
This recipe appears in: 13 Quick and Dirty Tips for Frying Latkes The Complete, No-Nonsense, Slightly Neurotic Guide to Making Great Latkes
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 7 medium-large)
  • 5 cups diced onion
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup matzo meal (more or less as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, to taste
  • Canola or peanut oil, for frying

Procedures

  1. 1

    Shred potatoes with grating disk of food processor. After every two or three potatoes, wrap shreds in cheesecloth that has been folded over twice. Tie corners around the handle of a wooden spoon and twist bundle until water flows out. Collect water in a bowl and squeeze all potatoes until dry. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl with onions.

  2. 2

    Let drained potato water sit undisturbed until a pool of brown water forms on top of a slurry of pale potato starch. Carefully drain off water, then mix starch into potato onion mixture with hands. Mix in eggs, one at a time, alternating with 1/4 cup increments of matzo meal, until latke mix can be formed into patties that just stick together in hands. Add salt incrementally.

  3. 3

    Heat 1/2 inch oil in skillet on medium high until a shred of potato immediately bubbles. Form a small amount of latke mix into a disk and fry on both sides until golden brown to test for seasoning. Add more salt as needed.

  4. 4

    Form patties about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick in the center and slide into pan, cooking no more than 4 at a time. Fry until a golden brown crust forms on bottom, then flip with a slotted spatula and fork until same color is achieved on other side. Flip as needed to get a firm, darker than golden crust on both sides.

  5. 5

    Transfer to a sheet pan lined with paper towels to cool for two minutes, then serve with applesauce and sour cream at the table.

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