Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dorothy Golden's Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

The Owens love potatoes.

The King of the House spearheads this love and prepares potatoes in every possible incarnation of deliciousness, but I am proud to say that I, along with the help of a sweet woman named Dorothy Golden, introduced him to one of his favorites.

Seven years ago, living with our children in this little apartment, I read the newspaper and clipped an unassuming recipe. Observe:

Latkes are traditionally prepared during Hanukkah and often are served with sour cream and/or applesauce. If, like us, you are not Jewish, you eat them as the most delicious cousin of hash browns in the universe, whenever you choose. (And if you are Jewish, you think I'm a dummy for not knowing about these exquisite potatoes until I was 25 years old.)

Also, contrary to appearances and despite the fact that this is the THIRD recipe in a row that features frying something edible, our family doesn't eat fried food often. We eat the following about four times a year, but if I made them every week, we'd eat them every week. (Do I sound defensive? Sigh. I know.)

Without further ado, may I introduce you to Dorothy Golden's potato latkes? Please give her a round of applause! (Out of respect, her original recipe is listed first. Please see my personal notes below.)

-5 russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and grated
-1 large onion, grated
-2 eggs
-a generous quarter-cup matzoh meal or flour
-dash of salt
-oil for frying

Combine potatoes, onion, eggs, matzoh meal, and salt. The mixture should have body but add more meal if necessary. Heat about one inch of oil in a skillet until it is hot.

Using a tablespoon, spoon mixture into the oil to make pancakes, leaving any liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Be careful. Pancakes will spatter when they hit the oil.

Fry pancakes until they turn brown and look slightly dry on the edges. Flip them and brown the other side. Pancakes should be crisp. Remove from oil and drain quickly on paper towels. Serve hot with applesauce, yogurt, or sour cream. Serves about eight.


Alrighty, here's what I do.
Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with several inches of canola oil. Turn on the heat.

Scrub lots of potatoes. LEAVE THE SKIN ON! Using a hand grater, grate into a large bowl along with one or two giant onions.

Add a few eggs, some salt, and enough flour to make the mixture thick enough to shape into patties. USING YOUR USEFUL HANDS, shape the potato mixture into patties while at the same time squeezing out any excess liquid.

Drop the patties into oil that is hot enough to make a pinch of flour sizzle, and fry until golden brown and dry on the edges. Flip over and brown the second side before draining on paper towels. At this point, salt heavily.

I usually place them on a wire rack on a rimmed cookie sheet and put them in a slightly warm oven (about 200-250 degrees) to stay warm and crispy while I fry up the remaining latkes. (This has the added benefit of keeping them out of easy reach. By the time I'm finished, I've usually already eaten my fair share of the product. Testing it, you know...)

You may add any additional spices to the potato mixture that you see fit.
Thank you and you're welcome.

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