Wednesday, January 11, 2012


(serves two adults and two children)

The key to crispy latkes is to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the potatoes. I've found no better method than to wring them out in a kitchel towel, as though you were wringing out a wet rag. You'll be surprised how much water comes out.

2½ lb russet potatoes
1 large onion
canola oil
4 eggs
¼ c flour
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
sour cream

1. Using a food processor fitted with a shredding disc, shred the scrubbed but unpeeled potatoes. Shred the peeled, trimmed onions. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with cold water for 20 minutes.

2. Heat ½-inch of canola oil  (about 1½ cups) in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

3. In another large bowl, combine the eggs, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Beat with a fork.

4. Drain the potato-onion mixture in a colander. Working in batches, place some of the potato mixture in a clean kitchen towel and twist hard to remove as much moisture as possible. Add thesquuezed potato mixture as you go to the bowl with the egg mixture. When all of the potato mixture has been squeezed, toss to coat evenly with the egg mixture.

5. When the oil begins to shimmer, use tongs to add two clumps of batter to the skillet. Use a spatula to flatten the clumps into pancakes. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the bottom of the pancake has become crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side has crisped, about another 5 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Return the flame to medium-high until the oil shimmers again. Repeat with the remaining batter.

6. Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

• The temperature of the oil needs to be hot enough to crisp the pancake yet not so hot that the outside of the pancake burns before the inside cooks. That's why it's important to reduce the heat a little after adding the batter. Exacly how much heat to apply differs from stove to stove and skillet to skillet. Adjust as necessary so that the oil is always burbling around the edges of the pancakes.

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