One exceptionally rainy day, I was perusing my kitchen contents and decided that it was just the right weather for latkes. I’m not Jewish, I don’t celebrate Hanukkah, but I have major Jewish food envy. I love just-fried latkes. I also love brisket, rugelach, a good pastrami sandwich, and matzoh ball soup, and am absolutely bummed that San Francisco does not have a truly authentic Jewish deli like they have in NYC, or even something resembling Zabar’s (I love love LOVE Zabar’s).
Latkes. I deferred to Martha Stewart, who also is not Jewish, but can churn out a mean potato pancake. Read on for her recipe!
Latkes (adapted from Martha Stewart Living)
4 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 small white onion, finely grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Applesauce, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grate potatoes in long strips, using smooth strokes to run potatoes across grater into a large bowl of ice water. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, transfer potatoes, reserving liquid, to another large bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel; gently squeeze dry. This step is EXTREMELY important – if you have soggy potatoes, you won’t get that great crispy crust on the outside.
Set reserved liquid aside for 10 minutes to allow starch to sink to the bottom; carefully pour liquid from the bowl, reserving milky residue (potato starch) and discard. Transfer potatoes back to bowl with potato starch.
Add onions to bowl; stir in eggs, beer, flour, salt, and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. In a heavy nonstick skillet, heat 1/4-inch of oil. Spoon 1/2 cup of potato mixture per pancake into skillet. Make a few at a time, being careful they don’t run into each other.
Fry on both sides until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain. Keep warm in oven while preparing the others. Serve hot with applesauce, or sour cream and caviar, if desired. As you can see, I like mine with sour cream and applesauce. Yum!