With Hanukkah on the horizon we wanted to post a traditional Jewish recipe, so our good friend Erin came over and taught us how to make latkes! For those of you who don't know, latkes are a fried potato pancake. They are a Hanukkah tradition because the oil that they are cooked in represents the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days. Apparently there are many different ways to make latkes. Even within Erin's family some people add carrots, some add parsley, some argue that you shouldn't add either (and Erin's grandma was apparently horrified that we didn't cook them in chicken fat). So we decided to make an assortment. The ratio of ingredients for latkes also varies widely. Erin told us that "you don't usually measure, you just add stuff" but for the purposes of this blog (and for those of us who feel more comfortable following a recipe) we've given specific ingredient amounts below. Just know that if you want to add more (or less) potatoes or an extra onion or carrot, they will turn out just as great.
We served them with sides of horseradish, applesauce & sour cream - and believe it or not, all three piled on together taste amazing!
- 4-6 russet potatoes
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- fresh parsley
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- canola oil
- sides of horseradish, applesauce and/or sour cream (we recommend all 3!)
- a cheesecloth (optional but highly recommended)
1. Invite friends over to cook with you (and enjoy morning coffee).
2. Pre-heat your oven to 250 F. so you can keep your cooked latkes warm between batches.
3. Peel your potatoes & grate them into a big bowl. If you have a food processor with a grating blade, use it because it works like magic!
4. Peel & grate your onion into the same bowl.
5. Send your friend/photographer Amanda outside if the grated onions are burning her eyes and she can't stop crying. She can watch from the window.
6. Using your cheesecloth (if you don't have one you can also use a clean tea towel or a colander over the sink), take handfuls of the potato/onion mixture and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. The goal is to get the mixture as dry as possible so that the latkes fry up nice & crispy.
7. Now you can add your grated carrot & finely chopped parsley to the mix.
8. In another bowl, whisk together your eggs, flour, salt & pepper. Pour into potato/onions & mix everything together really well (you can get your hands in there for this part if you like!).
9. Now it's time to cook them! Using your hands, tightly press the mixture into 1-2 inch balls. Pour about 2 tablespoons of oil into your frying pan and crank the heat (med to high). If you have a cast iron frying pan it's going to be your best option because it will heat up really well and get your latkes nice & brown. We also had a non-stick pan going and the cast-iron latkes cooked a lot quicker - but either will work.
10. Once the oil is nice & hot, add as many latkes as will fit and use a fork to press them flat. Fry for a couple minutes on each side until they are a nice golden brown & crispy around the edges. Drain on paper towels and place on baking sheet in oven to keep warm.
11. Repeat with remaining mixture, adding more oil to your pan as needed.
12. Serve warm with horseradish, sour cream & applesauce.
13. Enjoy with good friends. Happy Hanukkah!