This week, Jewish homes around the world will be frying up latkes, also known as potato pancakes, in celebration of Hanukkah. Some foods are so delicious, though, they should be enjoyed year-round, and by everyone regardless of religion. Such is the case with these latkes. Notice I didn’t say every latke, because in my years I’ve had some soggy patties not worth the time or calories.
Last year, a friend shared one of the best secrets ever with me for making a crisp on the outside, soft-pillowy on the inside latke. It’s actually the brainchild of all-things home and food guru Martha Stewart (or perhaps the credit really goes to a test kitchen assistant). Regardless, I haven’t looked back and have happily been enjoying latkes prepared this way since last Hanukkah. They have graced our breakfast table, made their way into my daughter’s lunch with homemade apple sauce, and even been served as a substitute for French fries with burger.
The secret you ask? Quite simple actually—add the potato’s natural starch back to them. Let the grated potatoes sit in icy cold water for a few minutes to crisp them up. Scoop the potatoes into a cloth towel and let them sit for a few minutes to drain. Then, 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’ll yield the crispiest latke ever.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 18
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 small white onion, finely grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
Over the years I’ve found there’s no need to add sweetener to homemade applesauce as long as you choose the right combination of apples. My favorites are Empires and Golden Delicious, but Jonah Golds, Fuji and Gala work well too. It’s also a perfect first food for babies venturing into solids.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 Empire apple, peeled and diced
1 Golden Delicous apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup water