Potato Latkes (Jewish Potato Pancakes)

The internet contains a ton of potato latke recipes using all sorts of fussy ingredients like shallots, nutmeg, watercress, caviar and “creme fraiche”.

Not mine. Mine taste like potato and onion. Like it’s supposed to.

These are real, traditional Jewish potato latkes, from an actual jew. In fact, they’re better than traditional, since we’re going to use a little science to keep them from turning gray. You’ll end up with latkes that are a beautiful golden-brown on the outside, white on the inside and taste exactly like they should.

Most of the recipes I’ve seen start with a pound of potatoes and claim to feed four people. This is complete nonsense. We’re going to start with 7 pounds of potatoes and this recipe will happily feed 4 hungry adults plus two teenagers. Or 8 adults (makes about 24 latkes)

So, without any more delay, here we go!

Ingredients:
7 Pounds Largest, cleanest, Idaho Russets you can find. Bigger potatoes mean less peeling and less waste. If you can’t find huge potatoes, buy an extra two or three pounds, since you’ll probably have to trim quite a bit.
7 Large Eggs
2 Pounds Large Yellow Onions – not sweet, not Vidalia, just plain yellow onions.
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 Cups All Purpose Flour. On Passover you can used matzoh meal.
Peanut or Canola Oil for frying

Preparation:

  • Peel and quarter the potatoes, remove any green, any eyes and anything that isn’t clean white potato. As you finish each one, toss into a large bowl of cold water to prevent browning while you peel the rest.
  • Slice the potatoes into quarters the long way.
  • Peel onions and slice in half. Then slice each half into 4 wedges. This isn’t critical, it’s just the size I need to get soft-ball size onions into my food processor.
  • Run the potatoes through a food processor with the “grating” blade installed and return to the cold water for a soak.
  • Run the potatoes through the food processor again and soak again in fresh cold water..
  • Run the onions through the food processor.
  • Run the onions through a second time to make smaller pieces.
  • Drain the potatoes and run them through a salad spinner to get out all the liquid you can. Do the same for the onions.
  • Mix the potatoes and onions, toss with the salt, place in a colander and let drain. the salt extracts extra moisture. This prevents too much liquid, which makes frying difficult, and also tends to turn brown. When done draining, squeeze out all the extra liquid that you can.
  • Put the potato and onion mixture into a large container, add the eggs and mix well. Add the flour and mix well with your hands.
  • If you’re not going to use immediately, put in a zip-top bag, squeeze out all the air and refrigerate.

Cooking:

  • Take a small sheet pan and place a cooling rack in it, and place in a 275° oven.
  • Place about a 1/2″ of oil in a large heavy pan and heat on medium high until just shimmering.
  • Use a one-quarter cup measure, pack tightly with the potato mixture, and carefully drop into hot oil. Press down to flatten to about one-third of an inch thickness. Don’t crowd the pan. When the edges just start turning dark brown,  flip the latke over and cook the other side. The edges tend to get a little darker than the flat part, so dark brown edge should give you a perfect side.
  • Test one (taste it!) if the inside isn’t cooked enough and the outside is already brown, you’ll need to reduce the heat a little because it’s cooking too fast.
  • As each pancake is done, place on the wire rack in the oven. Separate layers with paper towels
  • Serve with sour-cream and sugar, or apple-sauce.

Come back and leave a note if you liked it (or not!)

One thought on “Potato Latkes (Jewish Potato Pancakes)

  1. Hey there, have you seen my recipe? That is how we make potato pancakes in my native Slovakia. Potato pancakes are the best!

    And yes, I have also come across bunch of really weird recipes…

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