Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Latkes

Yup, you read that right, Christmas latkes. We decided this year, to make breakfast the focal point of our Christmas day dining. Latkes are some of our favorite breakfast foods, and while not especially difficult to make, they are time consuming. I usually make pseudo-latkes out of leftover mashed potatoes--delicious, but not the real thing.

I had made proper latkes before, but I was looking for the perfect potato pancake. The first stop in my quest, was what is the right kind of potato? I generally found 2 answers: Yukon Gold or Russet. I found this perplexing, as these potatoes have entirely different starch content. One recommendation I found was that if Russets are used, the latkes would be crispier. Usually my lakes are flavorful, but a bit soggy, so Russets were the way to go.

I used a recipe from My Fudo to nail down a technique, but the ingredients are based on what I've always used and include panko breadcrumbs rather than just flour. The technique they've developed is a winner--these are the most perfectly textured latkes I have ever eaten.

Latkes (serves 4-6)
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and placed in a bowl of cold water
  • 1 onion, grated, with moisture squeezed out with paper towel/tea towel
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 C finely chopped parsley
  • seasoned salt, to taste
  • generous amount of black pepper, to taste
  • canola oil, for frying
1. If not serving immediately--and by immediately from the fryer to a quick blot on paper towels and into someone's mouth--place a large baking sheet in your oven or warming drawer and preheat to 200 degrees. Prepare a second small baking sheet or plate and cover with paper towels, set next to your workspace. 
2.  Prepare a large bowl of cold water. Begin grating the potatoes to a medium shred and place the shredded potatoes into the cold water. Once all of the potatoes have been shredded, allow to sit for 5 mins. Place the potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water. Squeeze any extra moisture out of the potatoes with paper towels or a clean tea towel, or put them through several spins in a salad spinner. 
3. In a large bowl, combine the grated potatoes, onion, beaten eggs, flour, panko, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined.
4. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, pour canola oil to a depth of about 1/2 in. Heat on medium-high heat. When a single shred of potato sizzles on contact with the oil, the oil is ready. 
5. Form the potato mixture into 2-inch pancakes with your hands. Carefully add a few to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Check frequently, and flip when golden brown on the bottom, cook a few more mins until brown on both sides.
6. Carefully remove the latkes from the oil and allow to blot on the sheet/plate with the paper towels. Quickly remove the pancakes from the plate and allow to warm in the oven. Serve warm with sour cream.

Kitchen Notes: I added the step of extracting extra moisture from the potatoes and onions, because it has always been my understanding that the drier the item to be fried, the lighter and crispier the texture, and this seemed to work for me.

                                                      So much potatoey deliciousness!

Verdict? The texture of these latkes was incredible. They were perfectly crispy and light as a feather, I was incredibly impressed. They also soak up almost zero oil--I used the same single sheet of paper towel for the entire batch and it was not saturated at all. These are a lot of work, but well worth it!

                                                             Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. These look fabulous. Nice and crispy. I like the panko crumbs and the parsley adds some nice color. Happy New Year to you.

  2. I love latkes - And yours look delicious enough to pluck one from my screen! Wonderful tips on how to achieve a perfectly crisp potato pancake. LOVE...

  3. I never tried anything similar to this. I guess it must be really good!