Latkes, or potato pancakes, as my mother always called them, was an annual tradition in my house as a child. My mother would usually make them on Sinterklaas, which is on December 6th, a Dutch celebration of Saint Nicholas. I think she probably grew up eating them on this day, since her family weren’t practicing Jews any longer, but certain traditions remained strong. I would find chocolate coins in my shoes on the morning of December 6th, having nothing to do with Sinterklaas, but everything to do with Hanukkah, and latkes were served for dinner either on the 5th or the 6th, again, Hanukkah. I never made the associations until I was older, lived in New York and was curious about my Jewish roots. Now I always crave latkes on Sinterklaas, but decided to wait until the 2nd night of Hanukkah to make them. A tradition that I have kept up for the past few years and will continue to maintain for my daughter.
I made applesauce, not something you can find in stores here, but easy enough to make, my daughter was delighted and ate two bowls full before dinner. I also topped them with Greek yogurt, caviar and smoked salmon. Delicious.
Classic Potato Latkes
from 1000 Jewish Recipes by Fay Levy
- 2½ pounds potatoes (about 8 large) -or, baking, boiling, or Yukon Gold
- 2 medium onions
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- about ¾ cup vegetable oil (for frying)
Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a tray with paper towels for draining latkes and have a baking shert ready for keeping latkes warm.
Peel and grate potatoes and onions on the large holes of a grater or with a food processor fitted with a coarse grating disk, alternating onion and potato. Transfer grated onion and potato to a colander. Squeeze mixture by handfuls to remove as much liquid as possible.
Put potato-onion mixture in a bowl. Add egg, salt, pepper and flour and mix well.
Heat ½ cup oil in a deep, large, heavy skillet. For each latke, drop about 2 tablespoons of potato mixture into pan. Flatten with back of spoon so each pancake is 2½ to 3 inches in diameter. Do not crowd them in pan. Fry over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden brown. Turn carefully with 2 slotted spatulas so oil doesn’t splatter. Transfer to paper towels. Stir batter before frying each new batch. Add more oil to the pan as necessary, and heat it before adding more latkes. After frying about half the batter, put latkes on baking sheet and keep warm in oven.
Pat tops of latkes with paper towels before serving. Serve hot or warm.
One Year Ago: Mushroom and Fig Risotto
Two Years Ago: Brasato alla Birra