Unlike many other people's potato kugels, and unlike the ready-made versions you sometimes see in stores -- quite thick, and oven-baked until too dry -- this one, made by Edward Schneider's mother, is less than an inch deep and is cooked in a frying pan slowly enough and with sufficient oil to create a very crisp mahogany-brown crust that encases a soft, moist interior tasting of little more than potato, even though it is fairly rich in eggs.
Servings: 6 - 8 side-dish
- 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds russet potatoes (6 or 7 medium)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs or matzoh meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil
Peel the potatoes, rinse them clean and cut them roughly into 1-inch chunks; neatness does not count. Place them in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to break them up. Then run the processor about 30 seconds, until the potatoes resemble a moist puree like applesauce.
Working over the sink, transfer the potatoes to a fine-mesh strainer and let some, but by no means all, of the starchy liquid drain; give the strainer 1 or 2 gentle shakes. The potato mixture should remain damp, almost wet. Turn the partly drained potatoes into a bowl.
Add the eggs, bread crumbs or matzoh meal, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
In a heavy 10-inch skillet (a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet would be perfect, but a thick nonstick pan will be fine, too) over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil for a minute or so. Add the potato mixture, spreading it into an even layer. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low; you should see and hear very gentle sizzling around the outside of the kugel. (Long, slow cooking is key to developing a thick, dark, crisp crust.) Cook until well browned on 1 side, about 25 to 30 minutes -- quite a long time. Carefully slide the kugel onto a plate. If necessary, add another 1 tablespoon or less of oil to the skillet. Carefully turn the kugel back into the skillet, its uncooked side down. Cook until well browned on the second side, about 25 minutes. At this point, if you wish you can turn the kugel once more and re-crisp the first side for 5 minutes.
Turn or slide the kugel onto a wire rack or a plate. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting into wedges and serving as a side dish.
From freelance writer and recipe author Edward Schneider.
Tested by The Washington Post.
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