Food & Drink

Ultimate Latkes

3 medium to large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)

1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)

1 egg

1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup canola oil

Optional ingredients for recipe variations:

1 golden beat

2 leaks

1 sweet potato

1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Chop fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, or thyme,

1. Line a cookie sheet with 2-3 layers of paper towels. Set aside near the stove.

2. Fill a bowl with cold water. Peel potatoes, placing each one in the water to let sit until you are ready to slice them (and again until you are ready to shred them).

3. Slice potatoes lengthwise into quarters or sixths, so they will fit through the feeder tube of your food processor. Using the shredder blade, shred potatoes.

4. Place the shredded potatoes in a fresh bowl of cold water. There should be just enough water to cover the potatoes.

5. Replace the shredder blade on your food processor with the standard one. Place onions in the bowl of your food processor and process for about 30 pulses or until finely chopped.

6. Pull shredded potatoes out of the bowl of water and add to food processor reserving the water. Pulse 10 times.

7. To drain excess liquid from onions and potatoes, spread a clean dish towel on your work space and pour contents of the food processor bowl onto towel. Wrap towel around the onion and potato mixture and wring it out over the sink. Place mixture in a large bowl.

8. Carefully pour off the water from the bowl that held the shredded potatoes, leaving just the white powdery starch that has collected in the bottom. (There will be about 1 tablespoon). Pour the starch into the potato mixture. Add the egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the potato mixture and combine well with a spoon.

9. Heat canola oil in a large, heavy sauté pan with sloped sides over medium-low heat until a piece of potato dropped into the pan bubbles and sizzles.

10. Form the latkes by scooping 3 tablespoons of the potato mixture into your hands and squeezing it together to form a small disk, releasing any excess liquid. (Note: The latke won't hold together at this point.) Using a spatula, drop the latke into the hot oil, pressing it flat.

11. Fry three to four latkes at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook without moving until the first side is completely cooked and brown, four to five minutes. Flip the latkes and cook the second side for three to four minutes. Transfer to cookie sheet and repeat.

Note: You can make the latkes a day before serving, then refrigerate and reheat them in a 400 degree oven for eight minutes. Or make them up to a month ahead and freeze them between 2 pieces of waxed paper and store in a plastic bag. Defrost for 1 hour and reheat in a 400-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Variations:

To turn the traditional latke into something more exotic, try one of these add-ins.

Golden Beet: Peel a golden beet and shred it, using the shredder blade of your food processor. Return it to the processor with the potato in step 6. Proceed with the recipe.

Sautéed Leeks: Discard the green half and the bottom root of 2 leeks. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and chop them into ¼-inch-thick slices. Rinse well and dry. Sauté the leeks in olive oil, with a pinch of salt, for 20 minutes. Add the leeks to the potato mixture in step 8 and proceed with the recipe.

Ginger-Sweet Potato: Substitute a sweet potato for one of the russet potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger to the mixture in step 8 and proceed with the recipe.

Fresh Herbs: Chop fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, or thyme, toss into the potato mixture in step 8, and proceed with the recipe.

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