Tis the Friday before Chanukah – LIGHTS – OIL – ACTION!
We all know that the best French Fries are crispy and fresh. That’s what makes them so addicting and delicious. Well, at this time of year we can learn from the French chefs who certainly know how to fry their potatoes.
I’m in the middle of Saucy Tales From Culinary School – ‘Under The Table’ – a book written by Katherine Darling. I met the author Upstate, NY in her motorcycle café. What a talented and creative chef! Really enjoyed spending time with her.
As Katherine shares her kitchen experiences in her book – at the French Culinary School in NYC – I came across the perfect chapter at the most perfect time in the Jewish calendar: frying potatoes, the oils, heat, perfecting the crispness when frying in oil. Everything I knew to be true in creating the perfect latke was confirmed – and our traditional methods for the crispy Chanukah latke was/is on the same page as how the French chefs do it!
I make two types of latkes: Idaho Potato and Sweet Potato. Techniques vary a bit but both are ‘hot’ like an oily pan on a 375 degree element. In other words these recipes are my holiday success.
4 Idaho potatoes – peel and grate or use food processor
Bowl of ice water – water in bowl and add ice cubes
3 eggs – beat separately (the eggs will bind all the ingredients together)
1 onion – peel and grate or use food processor, separate from onions
2 Tbsp matzah meal or panko breadcrumbs
2 Tsp sea salt
Fresh black pepper
Oil – grapeseed, vegetable
- Grate potatoes by hand or with food processor. Transfer the grated potatoes into the bowl with ice-cold water.
- Rinse food processor or grater and now grate the onion.
- Take the potatoes from the ice water and place in colander and squeeze out ALL the liquid.
- Combine (with a big spoon or your hands) the dried potato and onion shreds in a clean, dry bowl and add the beaten eggs, matzah meal or breadcrumbs, sea salt, and fresh black pepper.
- Heat a large pan with lots of oil and heat to a high temperature. You can test the temperature before placing the latkes to cook in the oil by dropping a small popcorn kernel in the oil. If it pops the oil is ready for the latke batter.
- Using a 1/3 measuring cup scoop latkes from the bowl and carefully place in oily pan. Do not crowd the pan with too many latkes at the same time. Give them space.
- Cook on each side until golden and crispy. Place on baking rack and put a napkin underneath for oil drippings. Serve right away or warm up right before you’re ready to eat them all. Seriously! You will want to eat them all!
- These latkes are delicious with applesauce, sour cream, caramelized onions, yogurt… make them your own! Be creative!
Tip: The hotter that the oil is in the pan the better. If you place the latke batter when the oil is not hot enough the oil will get too absorbed in the latke. We want crispy latkes not oily drenched latkes. That’s the trick!
Tip: Make sure the latkes are completely dry before combining the ingredients. Squeeze out the liquid. They will become crispier and the oil will not splatter as much.
Sweet Potato Latkes
Follow the recipe above. The difference with the Sweet Potato Latkes:
Sweet potatoes do not have to be drained of liquid or placed in ice cold water. Instructions are the same, as well.
My family loves both latkes but my Sweet Potato Latkes get two thumbs up.
Embrace, Enjoy, Live, Love, Laugh, and EAT oily food at this time of year.
Peace and Light!
love my oils!