My mother is usually in charge of the latke (potato pancake) assembly line; a necessity when making hundreds of latkes for various parties and the odd fundraiser. It’s a nightmare that includes taping newspaper to the walls and floors of my parent’s kitchen (to ostensibly absorb airborne oil droplets), before blending up great batches of potato batter and ladling it into the electric frying pan, batch by batch, hour upon hour.
In my kitchen, with only 60 latkes to make for my family instead of 500, a little grating, squeezing, mixing and cast-iron pan-frying is doable. Crisp on the outside, hot and soft within, these lacy beauties are too good to enjoy just once a year.
Makes: 35-40 latkes
- 8 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 2 cooking onions, finely chopped
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup flour (or matzo meal)
- salt and pepper to taste (be generous)
- vegetable oil (for frying)
- applesauce, sour cream or Greek yogurt (for topping)
- Using a food processor or box grater, grate the potatoes (no need to peel them). Using a clean tea towel or cheesecloth, squeeze out potato liquid, getting the shreds as dry as possible. Add potatoes to a very large bowl, and mix together with chopped onion, egg, flour, salt and pepper.
- In a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy bottomed skillet), heat a half-inch of oil over moderate heat. Add heaped tablespoons of latke mixture, frying four or five at a time, for about three minutes on each side (smoosh them down with the spatula a bit), or until golden brown. Add more oil as needed.
- Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, or cook ahead and reheat when guests arrive. Don’t forget the applesauce!