Sunday, January 4, 2015

Potato Latkes

Latkes are potato pancakes that are perhaps the best know traditional Hanukkah food.  These crispy treats symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah because they are fried in oil.  Like most great traditional foods, every Jewish family has their favorite latke recipe that is passed from generation to generation.  The underlying formula is the same in that nearly all latke recipes have some combination of grated potatoes, onion, egg and flour or matzo meal.  After combining the ingredients, small portions are fried in vegetable oil for a few minutes.  
I got my passion for cooking from my mother. Perhaps that’s why I always find inspiration, inner peace and tranquility when I’m in my kitchen. Preparing my mother’s traditional potato pancakes can be a time consuming process, which is why we only made them at Hanukkah. She began by peeling and finely grating (not shredding) 20 pounds of potatoes on a box hand grater.  By substituting refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes, my version is a snap to prepare.  This is a traditional comfort food that can be eaten with applesauce and/or sour cream for a light dinner or with roast chicken for a hearty winter meal.  These crispy potato latkes are so delicious and addictive; you won’t have to wait for a holiday to enjoy them.

§     1 1/2 pounds peeled, shredded potatoes or 1 bag of refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes
§     1 medium yellow onion, grated or diced
§     2 eggs, lightly beaten
§     3 tablespoons of flour or matzo meal
§     1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
§     Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
§     Vegetable oil for frying
§     Sour cream and/or applesauce for serving

If you are using fresh potatoes, peel the potatoes and finely grate or shred them on a box grater into a bowl.  To remove the liquid, I wrap the grated potatoes in 2 or 3 paper towels and squeeze out the liquid over the sink.  Return the potatoes to the bowl. 

If you are using store bought refrigerated, shredded hash brown potatoes, empty the bag into a bowl and add the onion, eggs, flour salt and pepper.  Mix well. 

Heat 1/4 inch oil a heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Drop 1/4 cup mounds into the hot oil and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes.
Fry, turning once, until crisp on the outside and golden brown. 

Repeat until all potato mixture is used.  Serve the latkes hot from the skillet with sour cream and/or applesauce. 

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Potato Latkes. Enjoy! 

Note:  If you are not eating latkes immediately, keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.