The Secret to Crispy, Crunchy Latkes

The Secret to Crispy, Crunchy Latkes
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Rootsliving is all about the best “peasant food,” and this certainly fits the bill. These latkes turn out very crispy and crunchy because there’s no flour. Here’s the secret:

  1. Use russet potatoes and you won’t need to add flour to bind the pancakes. That’s because russets have a high starch content.
  2. After grating the potatoes, wring them out in a paper towel, piece of plastic wrap, or dish towel to get the moisture out of them.

These tips were passed on by Adam Rapoport, a writer for Bon Appetit Magazine, who got the recipe from his mother. I made them last night and they were delicious, served with sour cream and applesauce.

 

Latkes on a wired rack.
You can keep the latkes warm in the oven while you make more.

 

The recipe called for frying the latkes in vegetable oil and an optional small amount of schmaltz, which is chicken fat. I didn’t have any schmaltz and rather than just using the vegetable oil I decided to add a 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable shortening. The result was a crispy, delicious, satisfying piece of fried heaven.

Special thanks to two Facebook followers who offered the following suggestions:

FROM JOHN R.:

1) Use peanut oil, so you can cook the latkes on a high flame without smoke. 2) Make people stand around you with their plates and consume the latkes as soon as you’ve drained them for a few seconds.

FROM TIM A.:

If you soak the grated potatoes in water for a few minutes before ringing them out in the towel, it keeps them from turning brown and removes some of the starch for additional crispiness.

We ate these for dinner with a small side salad of arugula leaves.

Happy Hanukkah!

(Thanks for reading this far. To show our appreciation we’re offering this free eCookbook with “9 Recipes to Help you Relax and Enjoy the Holidays,”  along with free subscription to the Rootsliving newsletter.)

Crispy, Crunchy Latkes

December 4, 2018

This recipe was developed by Adam Rapoport and his mother, Maxine. Here's how I made them.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 pounds large russet potatoes (4-6)
  • 1 medium Vidalia, yellow, or brown onions (about 2)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fine plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable shortening, 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Vegetable oil, enough to coat a frying pan, about an 1/8th to 1/4-inch deep.
  • Applesauce
  • Sour cream
Directions
  • Step 1 Peel potatoes and wash them before grating them. Using the large holes in a box grater works well. Squeeze out moisture using paper towels.
  • Step 2 Grate the onion and mix with the potatoes.
  • Step 3 In a large bowl, mix the eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, baking powder and pepper. Then add the potato and onions, mixing it all with your hands and a spoon.
  • Step 4 Heat the oil and when it’s good and hot, drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, pressing down and shaping the pancakes with the spoon.
  • Step 5 Cook on each side for about 3 minutes. Be careful not to allow the oil to smoke. Turn down the heat as necessary.
  • Step 6 Working in batches, remove the latkes to a cookie sheet or large plate lined with paper towels so that the oil drains.
  • Step 7 You can then move the latkes to a cookie with a wire rack and put them in an oven, set at 300 degrees to keep them warm while you cook the rest of the latkes.
  • Step 8 Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

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