Classic Potato Latkes
One of my favorite Chanukah dairy meals is a whole grilled salmon filet, tabouli salad and latkes with sour cream and applesauce. Hot apple cider with orange slices and a cinnamon stick makes the perfect drink on a cold winter Chanukah night. My mouth is watering as I write. Have a happy Chanukah!
- 5 pounds red-skinned or Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 large onions, quartered
- 3 to 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup matzah meal (or chickpea flour for gluten-free) (optional, to absorb liquid)
- Corn oil, for frying
- Applesauce and sour cream, for serving
- Wash potatoes thoroughly. Cut unpeeled raw potatoes into large pieces and fill processor a third of the way up. Add a few chunks of raw onion. Process with steel blade until a mealy consistency with occasional potato slivers or pieces left in the mix. Empty ground raw potato/onion mixture into a large colander sitting over a sink or large bowl to drain. Continue processing potatoes and onions in batches until finished. Allow mixture to drain until most of the liquid is gone.
- Transfer potato-onion mixture to a large bowl. Add eggs and blend. Add lots of salt and pepper to taste. At this point, the latke batter can be stored for several days in a bowl with a tight lid and fried up as needed. I sprinkle matzah meal over the top of the batter before putting the lid on to absorb some of the liquid and prevent the potatoes from oxidizing and turning brown on top.
- For cooking, it is important for the oil to be very hot. Pour about ¼ inch of oil to cover the bottom of the frying pan. For an electric frying pan, start at 350 degrees. If using a frying pan on a gas or electric stovetop, start at medium high heat. Put a drop of batter into the pan and if it sizzles, the oil is ready. Next try a spoonful of batter in the pan and fry up a test latke to taste for salt and texture. If the latke doesn’t hold together, add an extra egg or a little more matzah meal. Adjust seasonings.
- Use a slotted spoon to drop the potato mixture into the hot oil. Leave space between latkes and do NOT mash them down with the spoon. It takes a while for them to cook to a crisp brown finish, so be patient before flipping the latke to the other side. Flip only once, lowering the heat if they seem to be burning too quickly before cooking through. When lightly browned and crisp on both sides, remove from pan and drain on a platter lined with paper towels. If I am having a large crowd, I will slightly undercook a batch or two, put them on a cookie sheet and let them crisp up in a 350° oven. Serve with homemade applesauce and sour cream.