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  • Writer's pictureFay Walsh

Pure Potato Latkes

Par-baked Potatos Make for the Best Latkes

Happy Chanukah, Friends, and tell Bubbe that we are skipping the flour and eggs this year. These pure potato latkes are the easiest latke recipe you will find and, undoubtedly, the most delicious. Little more than some seasoning and a quick chill in the fridge will make for the tastiest latkes.

What Is the Binding Agent Here?

We can omit the eggs and flour by parbaking our potatoes before frying them. Par-baking dehydrates these little root veggies and results in a very starchy gooey mess, perfect for making for the best-fried potato out there. You will want to shape these guys well before chilling them in the fridge, and take extra care when flipping them in the skillet so that they hold their shape. This should be relatively easy if you crisp up one side sufficiently before flipping. If you lose one or two soldiers, no biggie. They taste the same :)

How to Deep Fry Potatoes

The secret to a good latke is to remove as much moisture from the potato as possible before frying, so parbaking takes care of this for you. Also, be meticulous about the oil temperature (use a thermometer!) and be sure to remove any fried bits from the pan that starts to burn during the frying process. After the first batch of latkes, I wiped my skillet clean and used a fresh 1/4 cup of oil for the second batch of latkes so that no burned bits leftover in the pan ruined my second batch.

Some Favorite Toppings

Typical toppings are crème fraîche, sour cream, apple sauce, lox, or any combination of your choosing. I love a simple topping with more salt (always more salt), sour cream, and chives. I'm sure caviar would elevate these ultra-pure, streamlined potato pancakes.

Check out this article from Bon Appétit for more topping inspiration.


Pure Potato Latkes

by Joan Nathan

4 large Idaho or russet potatoes, washed and dried

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil, for frying

Crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving (optional)

Chopped fresh chives, for serving (optional)

Flaky Sea Salt

Smoked Paprika

Freshly Ground Pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the potatoes directly on the middle rack for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for another few minutes until they are hot but still raw in the middle. Remove from oven and allow them to cool at least a half-hour.

  2. Slice the potatoes in half widthwise and grate the exposed middle against the large holes of a box grater, careful not to grate the skins. This will be a starchy mess, but you should be left with more than enough grated potatoes to mold about eight or so latkes. Toss the remaining skins and sprinkle the potato mixture with 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. You may decide you want more salt here, taste, and adjust to your liking. I like to hold back and save the salt for garnish.

  3. Spoon out 1/2 cup grated potato in your hands and squeeze the mixture in your hands, forming a patty about 1/2-inch thick. Set your patties on a plate, cover, and refrigerate a few hours or chill overnight.

  4. When you're ready to serve, heat a large, cast-iron skillet with about 1/4 inch of canola oil over medium-high heat. You want the oil to reach about 375 °F before frying. If you don't have a thermometer, you can guestimate this by dropping a small amount of potato into the skillet, and the oil should noticeably sizzle. Working in two batches, gently fry four latkes until very crisp and deep amber, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and repeat with remaining latkes.

  5. Serve hot, topped with some more flaky sea salt, a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream, and a few sprinkles of chives, if you like.

Recipe courtesy The New York Times.

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Sheila Grauer Fay
Sheila Grauer Fay

they look fabulous!!!! Happy Chanukah to all....such a treat!! Yes...your Bubbe would be proud!

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