Make Ahead

Quick and Crispy Latkes

December 21, 2022
0 Ratings
Photo by creamtea
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 16-18 medium latkes serving 2-3 diehard latke lovers or 4 regular people; can be scaled up as desired
Author Notes

Here is my technique for crispy, relatively easy latkes. You don't have to bother peeling the potatoes. You can quickly shred them in the food processor. You can even pre-form them on a shallow, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment, and pop them in the freezer to cook when convenient. This potato mixture will never turn black and blue or leak loose batter. Removing excess liquid, adding back the reserved starch, and then smash-frying makes for a lacy delectably crisp treat. This recipe is easily scaleable and very forgiving. Don't leave out the shallot--it lends sharp sweetness. Finally, a light sprinkle of salt on the surface of the hot pancakes hits your tongue up front.
Break out your cast iron pan and let's get started. —creamtea

What You'll Need
  • For the latkes
  • 1 medium Burbank potato (about 10-12 oz), scrubbed and cut into large chunks (if freezing ahead, use all Yukon Gold potatoes for a total of about 15-18 oz)
  • 1-2 medium Yukon gold or Red Bliss potato (3-1/2 to 4 oz each) scrubbed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled cut into chunks
  • 1 shallot peeled and halved
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice, optional.
  • avocado oil
  • For the Garnish
  • goat milk yogurt or regular sour cream
  • Salmon Candy, skinned and dice (available at Whole Foods--delicious!) or Smoked Salmon, sliced
  • Minced chives or scallions
  • Applesauce
  1. Using a food processor fitted with the fine shredding disc, shred some of the onion, then alternate potatoes, onions and shallots (this will prevent the mixture from browning). (if freezing mixture ahead, use all Yukon Gold or other yellow potatoes; they won't brown)
  2. Empty mixture into a colander lined with a clean tea towel or two layers of cheesecloth. Gather up the corners and twist to form a bag, then squeeze hard over a bowl to remove as much liquid as possible. Reserve the liquid for now (you'll want the starch that settles on the bottom) and set aside.
  3. Empty the potato mixture into a mixing bowl and add salt, pepper, eggs and flour. Take the bowl of potato water, pour off the top liquid, retaining the thick starchy slurry on the bottom of the bowl. Add this to the mixture. Mix to combine. Add lemon juice if desired (I find it helps avoid discoloration and adds flavor).
  4. If freezing ahead: prepare a shallow, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper cut to size. For neat latkes, lightly pack a 1/4 C. measure 1/2 full with potato mixture, then flip it neatly onto the parchment sheet, tapping it with a spoon to release the mixture. Flatten the mound into a perfect circle, then repeat with rest of mixture (or form mounds using a tablespoon, about 2T per cake). Pop in the freezer for 1/2 hour, then cover with your choice of wrap for later cooking. Freeze solid until ready to use.
  5. Place a cast-iron pan on a medium flame and drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of oil (more or less). You want a scant 1/4 inch of oil. Heat until shimmering.
  6. Cook a small sample, about 2 teaspoons, pressing down to flatten. The batter should should stick together. If it breaks apart, you need to add more flour to the raw mixture in the bowl. Fry on both sides, flipping it once when brown and crisp.
  7. Remove sample to a paper-towel lined plate, sprinkle a little salt, and taste for flavor. Adjust seasoning of mixture in bowl to taste.
  8. Fry latkes in batches: Use a 1/4 dry measure, packed lightly with the mixture, and turn it into the sizzling oil, scraping the remaining bits of mixture out with a spoon if necessary. Flatten by pressing down with the bowl of a spoon or a pancake flipper, smash-burger style, for crispier cakes. If the edges break apart at first, push them back in lightly with a spoon so the latke will hold together when flipping. Don't crowd the pan. I only do 2 or 3 at a time. Flip when brown (about 4 minutes per side). Adjust flame to avoid burning; cast iron builds up heat, so keep an eye on the proceedings.
  9. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain; sprinkle a little salt over them (this makes all the difference). You can keep them warm in a shallow, rimmed baking pan lined with parchment, in a low oven until ready to serve.
  10. To serve, arrange in warm platter with little bowls of assorted garnishes as desired.

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