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Entertaining

Hold the Fries
December 23, 2009 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Some foods are so delicious they should be enjoyed year-round. This past Hanukkah a good friend told me about her method for making latkes. It’s actually a Martha Stewart recipe but in my heart it will always be Olga’s. The secret to a crisp on the outside, soft-pillowy on the inside latke is adding the potato’s natural starch back to them. Olga likes to hand-grate her potatoes, and while I agree for small batches, I can’t imagine not using the food processor if company is coming.

So how exactly do you add the starch back you’re wondering, right? Easy. Let the grated potatoes sit in icy cold water for a few minutes to crisp them up. Scoop the potatoes and pat dry in a cloth towel. Let the water sit for 10 minutes, and when you look back, you’ll see the starch has settled to the bottom of the bowl. Carefully pour off the water, and you’re left with the starchy goodness that will yield the crispiest latke ever. I’ve been hooked on this recipe so much, I decided to serve them with burgers for dinner last week. My daughter was a bit skeptical, but once I swapped in ketchup for the traditional apple sauce, she was sold too.

Potato Latkes
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 18

2 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 small white onion, finely grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying

  1. Fit your Cuisinart Stand Mixer with the food processor attachment. Place half the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the shredding disk attachment and process until shredded. Repeat process with remaining potatoes; transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, transfer potatoes, reserving liquid, to another large bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel; gently squeeze dry.
  2. Set reserved liquid aside for 10 minutes to allow starch to sink to the bottom; carefully pour liquid from the bowl, reserving milky residue (potato starch), and discard. Transfer potatoes back to bowl with potato starch.
  3. Add onions to bowl; stir in eggs, flour, salt, and pepper.
  4. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. In a heavy nonstick skillet, heat 1/4-inch of oil. Spoon scant 1/2 cup of potato mixture per pancake into skillet, working in batches and taking care not to crowd the skillet.
  5. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain; transfer to oven to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining potato mixture. Serve hot with applesauce, or sour cream and caviar, if desired.
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