"Quick and Kosher" author Jamie Geller is a young, modern Jewish cook who does not feel compelled to scrape any knuckles on a grater in the making of her light and crisp Hanukkah latkes. She adapted her grandfather's simple potato pancake recipe by employing a food processor and its medium-shred cutting disk; there is no need to squeeze excess moisture from the shoestringlike potato strips, no onion to cry over and very little binder material.
One secret weapon we've learned to rely on is an electric skillet. Is there one in the recesses of your pantry or perhaps waiting for you in a nearby thrift shop? Its even heat and low walls are a boon to smooth, fast latke production. And let's face it: The potato pancake is at its best upon immediate delivery.
As we suggested in this space at Hanukkah time last year, a generous serving of hot latkes, with applesauce and sour cream, is filling enough for a weeknight meal. But an added piece of quickly sauteed fish would satisfy larger appetites.
Servings: 4 - 6
Yield: (main-course or side-dish)
- 3 large Idaho potatoes (about 1 pound)
- 4 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 to 2 tablespoons matzoh meal or cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels.
Fill a large bowl with cold water. As you peel the potatoes, place them in the water to keep them from turning brown.
Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, preferably an electric one (about 400 degrees), until the oil shimmers.
Cut the potatoes lengthwise into halves or quarters so they fit through a food processor feed tube. Process using the disk/cutter that creates shoestring strips; transfer to a large bowl (about 4 1/4 cups total). Add the eggs, matzoh meal or cornmeal, salt and pepper; mix well. Drop no more than 6 spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil. Use the back of a large spoon to slightly flatten each latke; be careful not to crowd the skillet. Working in batches, fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until some browned edges appear, then turn the latkes over and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, moving them around as necessary to promote even browning, until crisp and browned on the surface. Use a slotted spatula to transfer the latkes to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet as you work; place the completed batches in the oven to keep warm while subsequent batches are being made. Add 1 tablespoon of oil for each of the following batches and allow it to heat up before frying the next latkes. Serve hot.
Adapted from Geller's "Quick and Kosher: Recipes From the Bride Who Knew Nothing" (Feldheim, 2007).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.