Scene: Checkout line at the local market standing in line behind my neighbor.
Neighbor: What are you making for dinner tonight?
Neighbor: Really?? (her raised eyebrow said "But you aren't Jewish") Can I find that recipe on your blog?
Me: No, not yet. I hope to blog about it soon.
Neighbor: I hope in time for Hanukkah. My husband makes them for me, but they have too much moisture.
Well I am one that doesn't like to disappoint so, dear neighbor, here is the latke recipe for you. (And anyone else who would like to enjoy thin and crispy potato pancakes that are moist and tender on the inside).
I use vegetable oil in lieu of corn oil because I always have it on hand. I also squeeze (wring) the potatoes dry in a kitchen towel to make sure that they are extra dry so that they crisp up nicely. I also use a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken up any remaining moisture. This makes for a nice, tender interior. I then garnish with the last of the chopped fresh chives from the garden and serve with applesauce (I made a ton from our bounty of apple picking) and some sour cream. You can certainly serve them as a side dish to just about any meal, but we make a meal out of them with some leftover braised red cabbage from Sunday dinner.
makes 20-24 pancakes
2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters lengthwise and reserved in cold water
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 extra large egg
1 Tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh chives
Heat the oven to 250º F.
In a 14-cup food processor, grate the potatoes using the grating disc. Transfer the potatoes to a colander set in the sink. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt and toss. Let the potatoes drain for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Meanwhile, replace the grating disc with the chopping blade. Add the tablespoon of oil, onion, egg, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Place the potatoes in a kitchen towel and squeeze to drain thoroughly. Put the potatoes in the food processor with the other ingredients and pulse for 10 one-second pulses. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process until the mixture is finely chopped, about 10-15 seconds more. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Have ready a baking sheet lined with paper towels. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 1/8-inch of the oil over medium-high heat until the surface of the oil shimmers slightly. With a small ladle or soupspoon, carefully ladle about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the potato mixture into the oil and spread them thinly with the back of the spoon until they are about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. (The oil should bubble gently around the edges of the pancakes.) Cook until the pancakes are a deep golden color, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the pancakes over and continue to cook until the second side is a deep golden color, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to the paper towel lined sheet to drain and sprinkle with salt, then transfer the pancakes to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you finish the rest. Continue to add oil in between batches as needed to maintain the 1/8-inch level of oil. Garnish with chopped fresh chives and serve with sour cream and applesauce. Enjoy!
To Make Ahead
Once fried, cool the pancakes completely, then freeze on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to freezer bags. Reheat the pancakes on rimmed baking sheets in a 350º F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp and heated through.
Source: Adapted from Fine Cooking, Issue 89