Classic potato pancakes - simple, delicious fried-potato goodness - served with a side of dreidel madness at our friend's annual Hanukkuh Party, to which we are lucky enough to score invitations.
Updated December 2016 to clarify potato quantity and provide instructions for pan-frying as well as oven-frying.
Read Good Latkes Make Good Neighbors, my blog post about Hanukkah in our neighborhood.
Makes about 24 latkes.
1/4 of a small onion, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Lots of canola (or other flavorless, high-heat) oil
1. If oven-frying, preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position.
2. Combine eggs and onions in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up and combine.
3. Add the potatoes to the food processor and pulse to blend into a slightly chunky pulp.
4. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and pepper to the food processor and pulse a few more times to thoroughly combine.
5. Choose a rimmed baking sheet and pour 1/2 cup of oil into it (if your baking sheets are in less-than-great-condition like mine, you may want to line the sheet with foil first, or choose a non-stick baking sheet to simplify cleanup). Spoon the potato mixture onto the oiled baking sheet 1-2 tablespoons at a time (you'll fit about 12 latkes on each baking sheet, so you may want to prep 2 sheets to work in batches). The loose, wet mixture should spread into a rough disk on the sheet.
6. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Then flip the latkes and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until they are golden and sizzling.
Stovetop Frying Method
5. Warm 1/2 inch of oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop heaping tablespoons of potato mixture into the oil to form a rough disk. (The mixture should begin to sizzle quickly as you do this - if not, your oil is not hot enough.)
6. Cook the latkes for about 6 minutes, or until the edges are browned. Flip the latkes and fry on the other side for about 5 minutes more, until they are uniformly golden-brown. Your finished latkes should be about 1/4 inch thick.
6. As they finish cooking, lay the latkes on a paper towel-lined plate, with more paper towels between the layers as you finish and stack more.
7. Working ahead - My friend Deb makes gobs of latkes in preparation for her party every year, starting a couple of weeks out. To make them ahead, let them cool completely, then freeze them layered in wax paper. When ready to serve, reheat them on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees, until they are slightly sizzling.
8. Serve them with sour cream and/or applesauce, or try something new with Scallion-Garlic Sour Cream or Pomegranate-Parsley Ricotta Cream.
Thank you to Deborah Levy for the original version of this recipe, and for her friendship.