December 20, 2011

Potato Latkes for Hanukkah

Been a while since I have put anything up, but tonight that all changes. It is the first night of Hanukkah and tonight I made my "World Famous in my House" latkes! These were made the old fashioned way, with love and a knuckle busting grater. Sure, I could have taken the easy way out with the food processor. Going old school just seemed a little more satisfying when it came to the finished product.

The process of making latkes starts with peeling tons of potatoes. Sure, you can do this with a peeler. However, this method can take forever and can be frustrating if your peeler is dull or old. If you are skilled with a knife, you can peel potatoes lightning fast and this was the route I went. Put your potatoes in ice cold water after they are peeled. This will help prevent them from turning brown after you peel them and especially after you grate them.

The recipe for latkes is pretty simple. Bag of potatoes, 1 onion, 1 egg, a couple tablespoons of flour, kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste. You can substitute flour for baking powder or even potato starch, which I will get to in a bit.

Step 1: Grate your onion. Doing this first will further help prevent from your potatoes turning brown right away.

Step 2: Grate your potatoes. As you grate them into the bowl be sure to toss it with your onions. You will want to use both sides of the grater, one to get some thicker pieces of potato and the other to get more of a fine grate. I will usually use about 2/3rds of the potatoes on the larger side and the remaining third on the finer grate. Once you are done grating you will then take your potatoes & onions and place them in a cheese cloth, which is placed in a strainer. You want to get out as much water as possible. While your mixture is draining you can then start to heat up your oil in your pans. You want just enough oil that will cover your latkes, but not so much that they are submerged.

Step 3: Take your mixture from the cheese cloth, squeeze out one more time to make sure it is as dry as possible. Hot oil and water don't mix, so you want to be sure all the water is out at this stage. You will then add in your egg, flour, salt and pepper. Mix well by hand so everything is coated. Here is where you can substitute the flour for potato starch. When your mixture was draining into the bowl through the cheese cloth, water wasn't the only thing coming out. When you pour the water out of the bowl you will have a thick substance on the bottom. That is potato starch. You can flake it off with a fork and combine that back into your mixture. I did not do that for this batch, but I have done so in the past.

Step 4: Take a mixing spoon, scoop up some of your mixture, press it into the spoon, and then place it into the oil by turning your spoon over in the pan. Then press down on the latke. Once the latke becomes golden brown, on the bottom and edges, you will flip them and wait for the same process to finish on that side. Once this is complete you will remove from the pan and set on paper towel to dry.

Step 5: Now it is time to plate & eat. Garnish with some freshly cut scallions and serve with sour cream & applesauce. Personally I enjoy eating them with both side items, but it is all a personal preference thing. Some like just applesauce. Some just like sour cream. Some like them simply naked. Either way, there is no wrong way to enjoy a latke and these were very much enjoyed by us tonight!

For dessert we went with the traditional Hanukkah dessert of jelly doughnuts. You can further read about the meaning of this here:

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