I have decided to run latke experiments this Chanukah, for the betterment of mankind. Out of the goodness of my heart, I will suffer through plate after plate of latkes this week. I know, it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. I will take one for the team here.
UPDATE: After just finishing this post, I really want to stress to you the importance of trying my third latke recipe at the end. It was the best, IMHO…and my family agreed.
Latke Trial 1:
I normally make the shredded latke, so I opted to do something a tad different here. I wanted to make the creamy centered, crisp lacey edged variety of latke that some of my friends make. I opted to try to bind them with my usual eggs and to try rice flour in lieu of my usual all-purpose flour or matzo meal. I really enjoyed the results, but I will add a bit of baking powder just to lighten them a bit on my next trial.
Pro: gluten free, easy to make, no annoying grating, quick clean up, crisp Lacey texture, creamy center, perfect round shape.
Cons: my family missed their usual shreds, slightly dense center texture when not perfectly fresh out of the oil.
Lacey Latkes (Gluten Free)
- 2 medium-large Russet potatoes
- 1 medium onion (white or yellow, non-sweet variety)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Vegetable or canola oil for frying
Cut potatoes and onion into small pieces. Pulse many times in a food processor until the texture of thick applesauce. Add the eggs, rice flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
Heat a large skillet (or 2, like I do) over medium heat with about 1/4 inch of oil. When oil is hot, add spoonfuls of the batter to the hot oil, leaving about an inch between latkes. Wait until edges are a deep golden brown to flip. Flip and remove to drain on paper towels when browned on both sides. Keep warm in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve. Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce.
Latke Trial 2:
Okay, night two, and all the surfaces in my kitchen have the subtle, sticky sheen of oil upon them. Oy vey! Time to recap my second experiment. I thought these were pretty delicious, but my daughter was appalled that I put a little bit of scallion in them, because G-d forbid she consume anything green. So help me.
The idea behind these latkes was to combine the first latke for the creamy center, but to add some shreds for texture. I became consumed with the idea that the shreds would not cook in the center, so I opted to make them very fine shreds. This might have been a mistake, because they were not much different than the first ones, though definitely a slight improvement.
I shredded one potato on a microplane style fine grater.
Then I made my purée of potato, onion, egg, rice flour, baking powder and salt. I added about 1/2 tablespoon of A-P flour, because I just can’t leave well enough alone….
I dropped in some pepper and sliced scallions this time, but never again…It lead to what I now call “Scallion-gate”. We will never speak of it hence forth.
Mixed the shreds with the puree and fried the babies up. Eureka!
I really loved these! My son was totally into them. My hubby is totally over the latke experiment, as it is ruining his low-carb diet. Oops! Finally, my daughter took one bite, saw green, and freaked the hell out. So, mixed reviews…
Crisp and Creamy Latkes
- 2 russet potatoes
- 1 large cooking onion
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup rice flour or AP flour
- 1/2 tablespoon All Purpose flour (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (if you dare)
- oil for frying- I used vegetable oil
Cut 1 potato and onion into smaller pieces. Place pieces in blender (if you have a vitamix) or food processor. Blend into puree with egg, salt, baking powder, flours. Pour into a bowl and fold in pepper and scallions.
Grate remaining potato with a medium microplane grater. It will take a while-sorry! Next, mix potato shreds into the puree mixture.
Heat oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet. Drop around a tablespoon into the hot oil to form latkes, being careful not to crowd the pan. Flip when edges become a deep golden brown. When both sides are completely brown, remove latkes to drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 250 degree oven, if not serving immediately. Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce.
On deck is my classic shredded recipe, but I think I want to play with a small amount of the puree still. I can’t give up the idea of mixing…
Latke Trial 3:
The shredded, but with a twist. These are a tad more involved than my usual shredded potato latke. I am trying to combine both types of latkes, plus add some bread crumbs (because I don’t happen to have matzo meal on hand). I read an article yesterday about how using flour creates a gummy texture, and how matzo meal is the way to go. It supposedly binds without becoming mush. I am deciding to substitute bread crumbs, because A. I am not a fan of matzo meal and B. I think it should have the same effect.
I decided to split the difference with the shreds vs. puree. I am puree-ing 1/2 of one potato and 1/2 of the onion with the regular blade in my food processor for these. Then, I switched the blade and shredded the rest of the potatoes (1 1/2). I then decided to chop the remaining 1/2 onion for texture and more of an onion hit.
Then I added 1/4 cup bread crumbs,1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon potato starch, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 whole egg, plus 1 egg white.
I decided to do three things differently during frying. 1. I used about double the oil to ensure complete 360 degree crispness. 2. I made them a bit thicker than usual. 3. I resisted the urge to press them down.
*Just finished eating these, and they were literally the best latkes ever! I am pretty sure I just revolutionized my latke technique for life. Try them and let me know what you think.
P.S. I know some of you like to hand grate, but I actually think that the food processor does a better job and comes out crispier with less damage to the potato shreds’ cellular integrity (that sounds so scientific- not even sure if it is a thing). Feel free to do this recipe with a hand grater, if desired.
P.P.S. I also realized that the latke style you grew up with will always be your favorite. There is a certain comfort food nostalgia that latkes bring about in people. I am pretty sure that there are as many perfect latkes as there are Jewish people in the world, and that is just the way it should be. Happy frying!