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Classic Potato Latkes

Updated: May 11, 2021

All you need is this one latke recipe to make the eight crazy nights of Chanukah bright!

Classic Potato Latkes
Applesauce and sour cream are the most traditional condiments for latkes, but they can be topped with just about anything.

Latkes are savory potato pancakes fried in oil, traditionally served to commemorate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. There are many variations, but the key is first to drain liquid from the potatoes before combining the batter. The more starchy the potato, the better the latke (use Russet or Yukon Gold). The following recipe grates the potatoes twice in a food processor: first with the grater disk and then with the standard blade. The result is a tender and fluffy potato pancake on the inside that is crispy and golden brown on the outside.

Equipment: cutting board; peeler; chef’s knife; dry measuring cups and spoons; mixing bowl, food processor or box grater; deep sauté pan or cast iron skillet; candy thermometer (optional); offset spatula

Ingredients: 6 medium or 4 large potatoes, such as Russet or Yukon gold 1 large yellow onion, trimmed and cut into eighths 2 large eggs ½ cup flour or 2/3 cup matzo meal 1 tablespoon potato starch or 1 teaspoon baking powder 1½ teaspoons kosher salt ¾ teaspoon ground white pepper canola or vegetable oil for frying

ILOC tip: If you like a "bird's nest" look and texture in your latkes, do not go for the second spin in the food processor. If you like the texture of a latke to be smoother and fluffier, first use the grater disk and then the standard blade.

1. Prepare a large sheet pan lined with a clean cloth and set aside. Fit a food processor with the grater disk. (If you do not have a food processor, use a box grater, the blade with the second smallest teeth).

2. Peel the potatoes and cut into pieces that fit through the mouth of the food processor, likely quarters. Grate the potatoes and then the onion eighths through mouth of the food processor, or grate on the box grater.

3. Transfer the grated potatoes and onions to the towel-lined sheet pan. Wrap them in the towel then squeeze out as much liquid as possible, discarding the liquid and reserving the potatoes and onions.

4. Remove the grater disk from the food processor and refit it with the standard blade (skip this step if you are using a box grater). Add the potatoes and onions and pulse a few times until finely minced, but not mushy. Transfer to a large bowl and beat in the eggs, plus the flour or matzo meal, and then the potato starch or baking powder. Season the mixture with the kosher salt and ground white pepper.

ILOC tip: you can use either flour or matzo meal, as well as potato starch or baking powder. Take note that while these ingredients are interchangeable, the quantities differ.

5. Heat 1-inch of oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet. Once the oil is shimmering and hot (about 365F), carefully place 1/3-cup portions of the mixture in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn and cook for 3-5 minutes more on the other side, or until golden brown.

6. Lift the latkes from the pan with a spatula and place on a paper towel to drain. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream.

Makes 14 latkes.

Fresh latkes may be kept warm in a 250F oven. If prepared in advance and refrigerated, reheat them in a single layer on a sheet pan in a 450F oven on the middle rack for 5 to 8 minutes.

Clockwise: smoked whitefish and purple radish, sour cream and applesauce, mascarpone and pomegranate, creme fraiche and wasabi tobiko, applesauce with horseradish, sour cream with dill, smoked salmon and creme fraiche, plain (center)

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