Classic Potato Latkes

How lucky are we that the Jewish holiday of Chanukah begins this evening, and it is time to get out the frypan and cook up a batch of these Classic Potato Latkes?  We are legitimately given a blessing by G-d himself/herself to fry up a storm!!  Oh happy day!

I rarely fry anything, but once a year, I am commanded to make potato latkes!  Ok, maybe not commanded..how about encouraged?  We’re supposed to fry foods in oil which symbolizes a miracle:  after the Maccabee tribe recaptured ancient Jerusalem, the lamp in the temple appeared to hold enough oil for one night yet continued to burn for eight days. This is reason enough for me! 

Now, I’ll let you in on a secret…I hate smelling up my house with fried oil (and potatoes, and onions, and sufgayinot aka donuts, etc), so I do it outside.  Yes, I live in a climate that is typically in the 70’s at this time of the year, so it works.  If you’ve got snow on the ground, you may not want to try this.  But, I take my electric frypan out to my barbecue area and plug it in.  Once I add the oil and it’s hot enough, I’m ready to go.  Another option, if you don’t have an electric frypan, is to put a cast-iron skillet onto a heated barbecue, fill it with oil, and cook the latkes on the barbie!  Any way you choose, the outcome will be amazing and your house won’t smell of oil for days!

There are two other huge Chanukah debates (besides the spelling of the holiday).  The first has to do with grated or mashed potatoes for the latkes.  I’m just telling you that grated is the way to go.  Why?  Because that’s what I love!  Ha!  The other debate (and fists will fly over this one) is over serving them with applesauce or sour cream.  Applesauce wins in my family, but, hey, it’s your holiday, too!  Do what makes you happy!

This is my favorite classic potato latke recipe.  I have a few other recipes that I’m featuring this Chanukah, such as Garden Vegetable Latkes and Potato, Artichoke and Feta Latkes, but if you’re going for traditional, this is the one.  You begin by grating russet potatoes with onions.  I use my food processor, which is able to grate them in no time.  Sometimes, you’ll end up with some chunks of onion or potato.  I just pick those out and chop them into smaller pieces and throw them back into the mix.  Transfer the mixture to a colander and let it drain.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then stir in the lemon juice.

It’s very important to try to squeeze as much liquid out of the potato/onion mixture.  After grating them, I put the potatoes and onions into a colander.  From there, I grab handfuls of the mixture and squeeze as much liquid out and then put the squeezed mixture into the egg/lemon juice mix.

Once all of the potatoes and onions are added to the eggs, mix together and then add as much flour as necessary to help the mixture hold together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

You can make the batter ahead up to this point.  Just place some plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the batter and refrigerate.  Pressing the plastic onto the batter will help keep it from discoloring.

When you are ready to fry the latkes, heat the oil (stovetop or outside…see the comments above) until a tiny bit of batter starts to sizzle when dropped into the oil.  Then, drop tablespoons of batter into the oil and flatten out with the back of a spoon.  I like larger potato pancakes, so I drop about 2 tablespoons of batter into the oil.  Fry until the bottom is golden brown, about three minutes, and then flip them and continue to fry for another 2 minutes.

Be sure to transfer the cooked latkes to a sheet pan lined with paper towel to drain.  You can turn the oven on low and keep the sheet pan warm.  Once the latkes are draining on the sheet pan, you can keep them warm in the oven or serve them right away!

I love my latkes with Chunky 15-minute Apple Sauce, but you can also serve them with sour cream! 

Classic Potato Latkes

Makes: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

3 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks

2 medium onions, peeled and cut into small chunks

5 eggs

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

 

In a food processor fitted with a fine shredding disk, shred the potatoes. Transfer to a large strainer, switch the disk to a medium-sized shredding disk, and shred the onions. Also transfer to the large strainer.

 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the lemon juice. Taking handfuls of the potato/onion mixture, squeeze as much moisture out and drop it into the large bowl with the eggs and lemon juice. Continue until all of the potatoes and onions are in the large bowl and mixed with the eggs. Gradually stir in enough of the flour to make a batter. Season with salt and pepper. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 30 minutes ahead. Refrigerate the batter with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly on top to keep the potatoes from discoloring.

 

Pour enough vegetable oil into a large heavy skillet to reach 1/4-inch up the sides of the pan. Heat over moderately high heat until the oil begins to shimmer and a small spoonful of batter sizzles when added, about 5 minutes.

 

Stir the batter. To form each latke, drop a heaping tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil and flatten it slightly with the back of the spoon. Form several more latkes in the pan without overcrowding. Fry until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the latkes and fry on the other side until golden brown, about 2 minutes longer.

Transfer to paper towels to drain. Stir the remaining batter well before making the next batch. Serve the latkes hot from the pan, or, if serving them all at once, keep warm in a 200°F oven on a rack set over a baking sheet.

 

Chef’s Note:

I have made these and frozen them with great success. Take them straight from the freezer, place on a rack set over a sheet pan and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. You can also thaw them and reheat at a hotter oven, 400°F, for 5-7 minutes.

Ingredients

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    Avarage Rating:
    • 5 / 5
    Total Reviews:( 1 )
    • Harry

      They look delicious Fran. I bet they taste even better. Happy Chanukah. 🥂.

      • Francine

        Thanks, Harry…yes, they are delicious!

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