You don't have to be Jewish to love latkes. And it doesn't have to be Hanukkah to set aside your fear of frying and indulge in a steaming stack of crisp and creamy sautéed potato patties slathered in sour cream, applesauce (or even served a la mode). Indeed, the cold weather holidays offer the ideal excuse to serve warm, welcoming, and festive Latkes.
Fairway Market has brought us a recipe for latkes that is perfect for holiday cooking, secular or sacred, starting with Thanksgiving. Not only are these yummy pancakes a seasonal treat, but they work wonderfully as a do-ahead. After frying, keep the latkes warm in a low oven for up to two hours. You can also make a day ahead, refrigerate and then re-heat on a cookie sheet for five minutes in a medium oven.
Why are these latkes different than all others? Rebecca Martin of Fairway, who created the recipe, says there is no secret, but the following steps make the prep virtually foolproof.
Shred the potatoes and put them in cold water – so they don’t turn brown
Use oil that is first heated to 375 degrees
Drain all excess liquid from the potatoes
Make the pancakes thick – at least .25 pound patties
Wait 7 minutes before you flip them
Use potato starch instead of flour
The kitchens at CTBites also suggest frying the pancakes in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet (the oil makes the surface non-stick). The even distribution of heat crisps the exterior to perfection.
And if you don't want to fuss with any of the above, these latkes are now available in Fairway's deli or on their holiday catering menu.
FAIRWAY MARKET’S FABULOUS POTATO LATKES
5 lbs Idaho potatoes
1/2 lb onions
12 oz eggs (approximately 6 large)
1 lb potato starch
3 Tbl kosher salt
1 Tbl ground white pepper
2 cups of vegetable oil
Peel and shred the potatoes in a food processor using the attachment with large holes. Put the shredded potatoes into cold water. Shred the onions, pat them dry. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the onions. Drain and squeeze the extra liquid from the potatoes. Add to the eggs and onions. Mix well. Add the salt and pepper then add the potato starch to the mixture and mix well. Add the oil to a frying pan so there is an inch of oil covering the pan. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Using a large mixing spoon, form .25 lb patties of the potato mix. Put the patties in the oil and fry, without moving or turning, until they are golden brown, approximately 7 minutes. Flip the patties and fry on the other side. Remove the patties from the oil and place on a towel-line plate to drain. Serve with fresh applesauce and sour cream. Makes about 20 latkes
Note bene: If it's Hanukkah and you are Jewish, you get a double discount. The oil for cooking the latkes is actually religious! It symbolizes the oil that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with the eternal flame, a story celebrated as a miracle during the Festival of Lights.