Best-Ever Potato Latkes
Niki Russ Federman from Food & Wine Magazine makes the tastiest, crispiest latkes with both scallions and onion.
2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded on a box grater
1 medium onion, coarsely shredded on a box grater
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup matzo meal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Applesauce, sour cream, smoked salmon and salmon roe, for serving
In a colander set over a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the onion and squeeze dry. Let the potatoes and onion drain for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour off the liquid in the bowl, leaving the starchy paste at the bottom. Add the potatoes and onion, along with the eggs, scallions, matzo meal, butter, salt, pepper and baking powder; mix well.
In a large skillet, heat an 1/8-inch layer of oil until shimmering. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of the latke batter into the skillet about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a spatula. Fry the latkes over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the latkes to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a platter. Repeat to make the remaining latkes, adding more oil to the skillet as needed. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, smoked salmon and salmon roe.
The latkes can be fried early in the day; recrisp on a baking sheet in a 350° oven.
Salty, crispy fried foods like latkes are made even better when paired with sparkling wine–either Champagne, like the NV Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve, or something more affordable, like the NV Vilarnau Brut Cava from Spain.
Classic Latkes: The Easiest, Simplest Method
After testing five classic latke recipes, Patty Catalano from The Kitchn determined the essential ingredients and has culled the cleverest techniques to bring you this very recipe.
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (3 to 4 potatoes)
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 large egg
2 tablespoons matzo meal or unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil or chicken schmaltz, or a combination of both
Applesauce and sour cream, for serving
Heat the oven and fit one baking sheet with paper towels and another with a cooling rack. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200°F. Line 1 rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Fit a wire cooling rack into another baking sheet. Set both aside.
Scrub the potatoes well, but do not peel. Cut each potato in half crosswise. Grate the potatoes and onion using the shredding disk of a food processor.
Make a cheesecloth tourniquet and squeeze liquid from potato and onion. Transfer the grated potato and onion onto a large triple layer of cheesecloth. Gather the corners and tie around the handle of a wooden spoon. Dangle the bundle over a large bowl, then twist and squeeze the potatoes and onion as hard as you can until no more liquid comes out of the potatoes and onion shreds.
Pour off the liquid, but keep the potato starch. Give the liquid a few minutes to allow the potato starch to settle and then pour off and discard the liquid but leave the potato starch.
Add the potatoes, onion, eggs, matzo meal or breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper to the bowl of starch. Mix with your fingers, making sure that the potato starch breaks up and is evenly distributed with the rest of the ingredients. Set batter aside for 10 minutes.
Place the oil or schmaltz (or a combination of the two) in a large skillet so that when melted there is a depth of 1/4 inch (for a 10-inch skillet you’ll need 1 cup of melted oil/schmaltz). Heat over medium-high heat until a piece of the latke mixture sizzles immediately.
Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture onto a fish or flat spatula. Flatten with your fingers to a 4-inch patty.
Slide the latke into the hot oil, using a fork to nudge the latke into the pan. Repeat until the pan is full but the latkes aren’t crowded. Cook until deeply golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat if necessary.
Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain for 2 minutes.
Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream, or transfer the latkes to the wire cooling rack set in the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes while you continue cooking the rest of the latkes.
Make ahead: Latkes are best made and served right away. They can be fried and kept warm in a 200°F oven for up to 30 minutes.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and recrisp in a 300°F for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the latkes when reheating so they do not burn.
Doubling: The recipe can be doubled, although you will need an extra sheet of cheesecloth to squeeze the extra potato and onion shreds. The oil (and schmaltz, if using) will need to be replaced halfway through frying. Pour the used oil into a heatproof bowl, wipe out the skillet, then heat fresh oil and continue frying.