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Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Tina Wasserman

Latkes are traditionally served for Hanukkah because they are cooked in oil (to commemorate the vial of oil lasting for 8 days). However, since they are pareve when served without sour cream, they are also a perfect accompaniment to a beef or chicken entrée. For an elegant appetizer, prepare as small rounds and top with sour cream and caviar.

Makes 2 to 4 dozen depending on size
6–8 large thin-skinned potatoes, California long whites or Yukon Gold
3 eggs, beaten well
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup matzah meal or cracker meal
1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
Oil for frying
Applesauce (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
  1. Grate the raw potatoes using the large grating disk on a processor or the largest holes on a grater if doing it by hand. Place the grated potato in a colander, rinse with cold water. Set aside to drain.
  2. Combine eggs, salt, pepper, and matzah meal or cracker meal in a 3-quart bowl. Mix thoroughly. 
  3. Change to the cutting blade on your processor. Add the onions to the work bowl. Pulse on and off 5 times. Add 1/4 of the grated potatoes to the onion and pulse on and off to make a coarse paste. Add to the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Add the drained potatoes to the bowl and mix thoroughly, using a large spoon or your hands. 
  5. Heat a large frying pan or large skillet for 20 seconds. Add enough oil to cover the pan to a depth of 1/4 inch and heat for an additional 10 seconds. Drop mounds of potato mixture into the pan. Fry on both sides until golden. Drain the fried latkes on a platter covered with crumpled paper towels. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.
Tina's Tidbits: 

  • Grated potatoes turn black when exposed to air. Rinsing the potatoes under running water washes away excess starch, the discoloring culprit. 
  • Always grate the potatoes separately from the onions so that you don’t lose any of the flavorful onion juice when you drain the potatoes. 
  • The best way to drain fried foods is on a plate covered with crumpled paper towels. Crumpling them yields more surface area for absorption.

Watch Tina demonstrate how to make this recipe: