Hot and Crispy Potato Latkes (Pancakes)
Dec. 8 marks the first night of Hanukkah. Traditionally, latkes are served during the festival with either sour cream or apple sauce. Some people use both, and frankly, they are good with just about anything.
- 4 Medium to large baking potatoes
- 1 Medium to large white or yellow onion
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Tablespoon matzah meal or bread crumbs
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon black pepper, or more if you like
Mince or grate the onion and set aside.
Peel and grate all the potatoes. If you peel them all before starting the grating process, leave the whole potatoes in a bowl of cold water in order to keep them from turning brown. Once grated however, DO NOT leave them in water as it will wash away the starch which helps the latkes crisp up when fried.
Combine the grated potatoes, onion and all remaining ingredients and mix well. Now you get to make a few choices and personalize your latkes.
If you like a creamier inside when you bite into your potato pancake, you could puree 3/4 of the mixture and then combine in with the remaining 1/4 of the potato/onion base.
If you prefer a more hash-brown-like latke, you are ready to fry.
And, if you like your cakes somewhere in between a fritter and hash-browns puree no more than 1/4 of the mixture, and then combine it with the remaining potato/onion base.
Each way is delicious, and you may even want to run a taste test for your family. It’s fun, and a great excuse to eat more latkes. Whatever version you choose, now you are ready to fry.
Get your frying pan nice and hot, and then add 1/4 inch of canola, peanut, or any other neutral tasting oil. Let it get hot, but not to the point of smoking, and begin adding the latke mixture to the pan. About a heaping tablespoon makes a nice sized pancake, but you can certainly make them larger, if you like.
The main thing is not to crowd the pan and to give your latkes time to fully cook on one side, before turning them over. If you need to add more oil before a new batch goes into the pan, make sure to let it get hot before putting the next pancakes in the pan.
If you cannot eat them fresh from the pan, keep finished pancakes in a warm oven, preferably on a wire rack, in order to keep them crisp.