Monday, January 18, 2016

Crispy Potato Latkes

Every year in late December/early January I see a lot of recipes for potato latkes and I start to crave them. But then I remember my one & only attempt to make them, probably 10 years ago, and they turned out flavorless (they didn't even taste like potatoes) and kind of gluey and just blah. A lot of work for dismal results.
Last summer when I ripped apart all those old Cook's Illustrated magazines, I found a recipe for Crispy Potato Latkes in the November 2012 issue. Cook's Illustrated's recipes almost always turn out perfect, so when we started thinking about making latkes, I pulled out the ripped out page. We made the latkes over New Year's weekend and served them with this pork tenderloin and blanched & sauteed green beans.
I graciously allowed SP to be in charge of peeling potatoes and grating potatoes. I am terrible at peeling potatoes. I usually end up peeling a knuckle or two. Peeling isn't necessary, but I like my potatoes peeled. As for grating, yes, we could have used the food processor, but the article/recipe said CI preferred a box grater, so that's what we used. Next time, though, we might cheat with the food processor.
From here it's a matter of taking out some of the moisture and making sure the latkes don't end up absorbing too much oil. After tossing together the shredded potato, onion, and salt, it's time get an old dish towel and use your muscles to wring out the liquid, reserving the liquid in a measuring cup. I let SP do the squeezing and wringing, too.
Lots of wringing.
Below is our reserved liquid, which sits for a while to allow the starch to settle at the bottom.
Once the starch has settled, pour off the water. You are left with the potato starch (see photo below) to which you add eggs and mix together then combine with the potato shreds.
While waiting for the starch to settle, microwave the potatoes for just a bit, 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until warmed through but not hot, then spread out on a cookie sheet to cool.
Return the cooled potato to a bowl, add the pepper, parsley, and potato starch-egg mixture, and stir to combine.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet and then drop about 1/4 cupfuls of potato mixture into the oil. Slightly flatten the potato mound into a disk and cook until golden brown on bottom. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.
Once cooked, place the latke on a paper towel lined wire rack on a cookie sheet.
Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream. These turned out much, much better than my last attempt at latkes. These were delicious. Cooked through, crispy and golden, not too oily, flavorful. Definitely a make again dish. Also, it didn't seem like as much work as I remembered or as time consuming. Then again, I wasn't grating or squeezing, so...!
Recipe here or here.

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