I made these Latkes for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’ve been craving them ever since. Creamy, crispy, salty, savory, starchy, sweet – they fulfill so many cravings. Especially when combined with homemade applesauce. If you haven’t given them a try before, you really should! While they might take some time, you can also make a large batch all at once, and freeze the remainder for brunch(es) some other day!
From my CSA with Star Hollow Farm, I had a 2 lb. bag of mixed potatoes, as well as onions and fresh free-range eggs (and the apples for the applesauce!), so I was able to make the Latkes almost completely with local ingredients; something I have really been trying to do more of lately. Even better, the mixed bag of potatoes yielded multi-colored and beautiful latkes, something that definitely wouldn’t have happened if I had just been buying a giant bag of potatoes from the store! As I found, you can definitely use any potatoes at hand.
As you can see from the recipe below, they are really quite simple. Of course, if you had a food-processor, and not just a box grater, it *might* be a little easier. These latkes are inspired by Sassy Radish’s post on Latkes (itself inspired from Martha Stewart) that was featured on Bon Appetit’s Blog Envy back in December. And, if you haven’t checked out her site, which I found from that post, I highly recommend it!
- 2 lbs. of mixed potatoes, peeled
- 2 onions, small to medium, skin removed, but left whole
- 4 T of white whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 T of kosher salt
- canola oil, for frying
- applesauce, optional topping*
- sour cream, optional topping
First, fill a large bowl with icy water. Next, grate all the potatoes into this bowl, using the coarsest grade on your grater. Personally, I found it went fairly quickly to have one person peeling the potatoes, while another person grated them. The time it took to peel one potato was almost identical to the time it took to grate it. Well, if you’re slow like me and my oh so handy helper boyfriend.
Once all the potatoes are grated, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place them in another bowl lined with a thin kitchen towel. Using the cloth, squeeze the remaining liquid out of the potatoes, and add it to the liquid that you just took the potatoes out of. I used a tea cloth, which worked splendidly. You’ll want to reserve the liquid from the potatoes, and let it sit until the sediment, aka potato starch, separates out. The starch helps to bind the potatoes and onions all together during frying.
While this is separating, grate the onions, also coarsely, and add them to the grated potatoes you’ve removed from the towel and placed in that second bowl. Oh, and make sure to grate the onions from the root end towards the far end. Otherwise, as you go through, the onion would start to fall apart as you cut through each layer. The onions will be almost liquid from the grating, which is how you want them. This way, they’ll cook fully while you’re frying the latkes, and they more fully infuse the potatoes with onion flavor. If they were in larger pieces, you’d probably end up with uncooked onion bits amidst delicious creamy/crunchy potato goodness.
At this point, the potato starch should be separated, and you can just drain the liquid off the top. The potato starch will just stay on the bottom of the bowl, and you can add that to the potato and onion mixture. After that, add in the salt, flour, and eggs, mixing well to combine.
Now, pre-heat your skillet, and once heated, add the oil. I only used enough to fully coat the bottom of the skillet. As always, make sure it’s fully heated (to the point where you can’t hold your hand an inch over the skillet for more than two seconds) before adding in the latke mixture. Depending on the size of latke that you prefer, add anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the mix to the skillet for each latke. Personally, I found that I prefer my latkes to be thinner and crunchier, so I added less mix for each, and made sure to spread it out thinly. If you like yours thicker (and creamier in the center at the end), add closer to 1/2 cup, and don’t flatten it out as much. For thinner, crisper latkes, you’ll need to fry it about 3-4 minutes per side, and I found it to be closer to 5-6 minutes per side for the thicker latkes.
Once done, place the latkes on a paper-towel lined baking sheet or on a wire drying rack over a baking sheet, in order to drain off any excess oil. If you’re feeding a crowd and will need to keep the latkes warm for serving, heat the oven to 300 degrees, placing the latkes on a baking sheet in your pre-heated oven to keep warm after they’ve drained. Or if, like me, you’re really making a whole batch in order to have some for leftovers, you can keep them out on the paper-toweled baking rack and let them cool off. I wait until I’m on my last few batches to start eating, as that way I can enjoy them without having to jump up every few seconds.
To serve, latkes can be garnished with either sour cream or applesauce. Or both! They are also delicious plain, of course.
If any are leftover, let them cool and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Place the individually wrapped latkes in a Ziploc, and place them in the freezer. To re-heat, just pre-heat the oven to 35o degrees, and place the still frozen latkes on a baking sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes. If you want them even crispier than that should render them, just fry them as before at this point!
*For the homemade applesauce, I just peeled and diced 4 apples (1 gala, 1 macintosh, 2 honey crisps), and then simmered them on low with about 1-2 cups of water and a tablespoon of sugar until softened and combined.