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Latkes - the Topic!


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  • 11 months later...

Tonight is the fist night of Hanukkah. Who is making latkes? I'm not Jewish, but I will be making them tonight.

This year, I'll do something I haven't done before. I'm going to sauté some of the onions and mix them with some raw onion. Like I usually (but not always) do, I'll hand grate the potatoes. And the raw onion. I like to squeeze out excess moisture from the mix of onions and potatoes before adding egg and matzoh meal. I'll fry them in the cast iron skillet with canola oil and some chicken fat. They'll be served with applesauce (store bought, I got lazy today)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I made a batch tonight - mostly for a family dinner tomorrow night, but I have to say the BEST latke isn't served with sour cream or apple sauce --- it's eaten right out of the frying pan (well, after blotting with paper towel) au naturel while the rest of them are sizzling in the frying pan.

What kind of potatoes do you use?

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  • 7 years later...

I am fond of what I call "Methodist Latkes" -- cooked in bacon fat. I love them with sour cream and apple butter, and I'll make tiny ones on New Year's morning to eat with sour cream and caviar (keep your blinis, give me baby latkes). Will be making some Christmas morning for breakfast. Have not made my pilgrimage to Lee County to get my domestic caviar from the fish market there, and it remains to be seen if I'll get that done or not.

 

I have taken to using Yukon Golds, which I use for most everything. Grate, drain, squeeze out as much water as possible; mix with grated onion, an egg or two, a handful of bread crumbs. Fry. Gorge.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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On 12/8/2012 at 7:02 PM, Pam R said:

the BEST latke isn't served with sour cream or apple sauce --- it's eaten right out of the frying pan (well, after blotting with paper towel) au naturel while the rest of them are sizzling in the frying pan.

 

Some foods (latkes, fried calamari and prawns, French fries) just aren't meant for table service.     They need to be smokin' hot and the exterior shatteringly crunchy.

But when not possible, served with applesauce and creme fraiche or Mexican sour cream will suffice.

 

I tend to fall into the no flour, only potato starch, camp.

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9 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

 

Some foods (latkes, fried calamari and prawns, French fries) just aren't meant for table service.     They need to be smokin' hot and the exterior shatteringly crunchy.

But when not possible, served with applesauce and creme fraiche or Mexican sour cream will suffice.

 

I tend to fall into the no flour, only potato starch, camp.

Agreed just potato starch most of all of it coming from the potatoes after shredding 

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Forgive me if this has been addressed here before. I didn't read all of the previous 19 years of posts.  I was reading a Fine Cooking recipe for latkes today and have a question.  It says to soak the grated potatoes in a bowl of water to save the starch and let it settle to the bottom.  After removing the potatoes and drying them, the recipe says 

 

"Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl and using your hands, mix in the onion, egg, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Carefully pour off the reserved potato soaking water to get to the white gluey starch on the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the starch to the potato mixture and mix it in with your hands."

 

My question is:  Why go to the effort of removing the starch and then putting it back?  Why not dry the potatoes without removing the starch, or if there is a good reason for soaking, why not just use potato flour instead of using the wet starch at the bottom of a bowl of water?

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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A stellar batch of Latkes were had last night.

 

Russet potatoes, salt, pepper, a couple eggs - salt at the end before forming - that's it!

 

Golden brown, crunchy goodness.

 

Served with home made apple sauce, cranberry sauce and a whole smoked turkey.

 

 

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Fried up a big 10 lb batch yesterday.  They will be served on the 25th, my daughter’s birthday.  Will  be hosting my family and her new in-laws for dinner.   Also have a packer brisket which was cleaned, separated and SV’d a couple days ago.    Hopefully an easy reheating of both for the finish 

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2 hours ago, Norm Matthews said:

Forgive me if this has been addressed here before. I didn't read all of the previous 19 years of posts.  I was reading a Fine Cooking recipe for latkes today and have a question.  It says to soak the grated potatoes in a bowl of water to save the starch and let it settle to the bottom.  After removing the potatoes and drying them, the recipe says 

 

"Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl and using your hands, mix in the onion, egg, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Carefully pour off the reserved potato soaking water to get to the white gluey starch on the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the starch to the potato mixture and mix it in with your hands."

 

My question is:  Why go to the effort of removing the starch and then putting it back?  Why not dry the potatoes without removing the starch, or if there is a good reason for soaking, why not just use potato flour instead of using the wet starch at the bottom of a bowl of water?

 


The idea is the starch needs to distributed amongst all the ingredients as a binder, and if it’s still in the potatoes it can’t perform that function. 
 

Personally I would just add some potato starch from a box like you said. I also don’t bother with shredding potatoes at all. I just buy a package of frozen hash browns and add onion. Sometimes fresh onion, but granulated onion tastes as good and doesn’t add a lot of water that you need to drain away. 

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3 hours ago, scubadoo97 said:

Fried up a big 10 lb batch yesterday.  They will be served on the 25th, my daughter’s birthday.  Will  be hosting my family and her new in-laws for dinner.   Also have a packer brisket which was cleaned, separated and SV’d a couple days ago.    Hopefully an easy reheating of both for the finish 

Good God, but that's a lot of latkes! I'll likely make some for Christmas morning. Depending on whether my friend comes Christmas Eve and spends the night, it will likely be just me that eats them, as Child A doesn't care for them. But they DO warm up nicely in the CSO!

Don't ask. Eat it.

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And for those that just want a few latkes or who don't want to go through all the hassle of making them, Trader Joe's frozen latkes are quite good.  I make them in the BSOA on an "air fryer" sheet pan (open mesh) using air fryer mode at 400F for 16 minutes, flipping them at 8 minutes.  They have a "more done" side so I start with that side down so it finishes that side up.

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On 12/23/2019 at 8:07 PM, mgaretz said:


The idea is the starch needs to distributed amongst all the ingredients as a binder, and if it’s still in the potatoes it can’t perform that function.

 

Freeing up the starch is indeed a big part of what's going on. I'll add that in the course of shredding, rinsing and squeezing the potatoes you're also removing a lot of water from the potatoes, leaving them denser and concentrating their flavor. It's an added step, but not really that much effort.

 

I'll add that I use my potato ricer to squeeze the water out of the shredded potatoes. You can only do a cup or so at a time, but it gives you enough leverage to get them really, really dry.

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2 hours ago, chromedome said:

 

Freeing up the starch is indeed a big part of what's going on. I'll add that in the course of shredding, rinsing and squeezing the potatoes you're also removing a lot of water from the potatoes, leaving them denser and concentrating their flavor. It's an added step, but not really that much effort.

 

I'll add that I use my potato ricer to squeeze the water out of the shredded potatoes. You can only do a cup or so at a time, but it gives you enough leverage to get them really, really dry.

Exactly.   I use my ricer as well to squeeze out the liquid from the shredded potatoes 

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dcarch - those are great!

 

We've used a SAVEUR recipe (issue #109) for years.  A pinch of salt on the shredded russets releases more potato water - after a while we gather it in a kitchen rag and twist-squeeze the hell out of it and let liquid stand so starch sinks to the bottom, discard water, mix starch deposit with an egg and matzo flour - add potato and chopped scallion, then fry in duck or chicken fat at med/high in cast iron. Serve w/ apple sauce spiked w/horseradish. That's-a New Years breakfast!

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