These are classic Jewish latkes that I fried-up just last night. The recipe is adapted from my sister, Prospect Heights food writer Melissa Clark, from her book In the Kitchen With A Good Appetite. (But my version is better).
It's surprisingly simple and fast. But for success, a few notes:
- Don't try to make the potato batter, or even grate the potatoes ahead of time. They will turn greyish-purple within an hour. If you're having guests over, it's perfectly acceptable to enlist them to help in the cooking.
- If you must make them ahead of time, go ahead, drain the oil on paper towels and then either keep them warm in a 200-degree oven or store them in the fridge and then re-heat them for 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven. I did the latter this morning for my son's Chanukah party at Union Temple Preschool and they were just fine.
- Don't worry about the pepper in the recipe (as I was). It's traditional and subtle (you won't really taste it).
Time: 30-45 minutes
4 large Russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters if needed to fit into the food processor
2 large onions (16 ounces), peeled and cut into quarters
4 large eggs
3/4 to 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the potatoes and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible. (This step is vital to avoid soggy latkes.)
2. Working quickly, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the eggs, salt, baking powder, and pepper and mix in flour, bit by bit, until the mixture holds together.
3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of the oil. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter placed in the pan should sizzle), use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot pan, cooking 3 to 4 latkes at one time. Use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. When the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy, about 5 minutes, flip. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Makes 20 to 30 latkes
Note: This recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc.