Thursday, December 13, 2012

Latkes


This holiday season I've seen a lot of latke articles and recipes pop up.  Most things I would consider blasphemy.  Here are some pointers from this side of the stove:

  • Hand-grate the potatoes using the fine-grate side of your box grater.  NOT THE COARSE GRATE SIDE; NOT THE FOOD PROCESSOR.  You can taste the difference.
  • DO NOT USE FLOUR.  Use matzo meal.
  • DO NOT ADD A THOUSAND EGGS TO THE MIX UNLESS YOU WANT A FRITTER.  You only really need 2-3 eggs for five pounds of potatoes.
  • You can use pretty much any kind of potato you want, but I prefer ordinary white potatoes.  Hook a farmer up and buy them at the farmer's market.
  • Don't forget the onion.  About 2 medium-sized onions, again fine-grated (you gotta cry a little bit), per 5 pounds potatoes.
  • You don't need a ton of salt.  Hold yourself back here.  About 1.25-1.5 tablespoons per 5 pounds potatoes.
  • The order: peel potatoes; grate potatoes (push the potatoes under the potato liquid so they don't oxidize too much); peel onions; grate onions and add to potatoes; drain potatoes and onions (some people say not to drain completely or to reserve the potato starch at the bottom of the bowl); mix in eggs; mix in salt; mix in matzo meal.  Fry small latkes in hot oil so that they don't fry for more than 6 minutes total - if it's taking longer, you can turn up the heat slightly, but don't burn them or leave the middle uncooked.  Remember that the oil temp will decrease as you throw more latkes into the pan.
  • It's important that you are both self-deprecating and secretly egotistic about your latkes.  Otherwise you'll never bother next year.

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