Do not Overthink Your Latkes


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Picture: Nailya Yakubova (Shutterstock)

Truth: individuals love latkes. I want I used to be certainly one of them. Fried potatoes must be a slam dunk, however most of my Chanukah reminiscences contain skipping the latkes for the applesauce they had been served with.

As an grownup, I see latkes much less because the headliner and extra because the stage. They’re an incredible base for smoked salmon, creme fraiche and caviar; berry, apple or cranberry jam; sautéed greens, a slice of uncommon roast beef, and spicy horseradish sauce. It’s nearly insulting to simply restrict your self to bitter cream or applesauce.

Latkes in oil.

The oil is the factor.
Picture: Amanda Blum

Furthermore, we could be a little versatile with the components: Sub purple potatoes for russets, or attempt candy potatoes or crimson garnet yams. Higher but, make all three—russet, purple, and crimson garnet and stack them for a rainbow of fall colours. Contemplate making breakfast latkes, crimson flannel fashion.

I’ve already offered Claire on cooking the latkes in duck fats, however you may get a spread of taste from totally different fat and oils, so don’t be afraid to department out.

Latkes on a board with smoked salmon, hard boiled egg, row, chives, and creme fraiche.

Picture: Amanda Blum

However nevertheless impressed I can get about making lofty latkes, I nonetheless discover making them such a chore. The peeling, the grating, standing over a range ceaselessly, all that oil. It’s been urged that the one solution to really make nice latkes is handy grate the potatoes, and I simply instinctually reply “ugh”.

I discovered myself questioning, might I simply do much less, and nonetheless get latkes? Chanukah is actually a vacation of doing extra with much less; I could not be capable of get eight instances the productiveness with these hacks, however hey, it’s 2021. We’ll take what we will get.

You don’t must peel the potatoes

Exhausted, I stared on the pile of potatoes with the peeler in hand and located myself considering “Why? Why am I doing this?” We go away skins on fries. We go away skins on after we smash potatoes. Actually, potato skins are actually a THING. What would occur if we simply…did much less?

Nothing. Nothing occurs. It’s nice! Wash these spuds, throw them via a grater (and I’m utilizing a Cuisinart) and proceed with impunity. I imply, if you happen to’d wish to peel your potatoes, go nuts. However I’m finished.

on the left, shredded potatoes with skin on in a bowl. on the right, latke mix in formed latkes frying in a shallow pan of oil.

As soon as they’re shredded and making good with some eggs and matzo meal in boiling oil, the potatoes don’t appear to care that they’re uncircumsized.
Illustration: Amanda Blum

Don’t trouble with the air fryer.

Did I ever need this to work. And it ought to have! I learn a number of recipes for air fryer latkes, and that is actually the type factor of meals air fryers had been made for. However the air fryer offered a number of issues. The grate you discover in air fryers shouldn’t be conducive to forming the latkes. Even when properly oiled, the potatoes caught to the grate or fell via, and made a good larger mess once I tried to flip them over.

I loaded up a number of latkes that had been fried as soon as in oil, to see if the air fryer might crisp them up, however it made the latkes too crispy. I do know that sounds inconceivable, however I attempted quite a lot of temperatures and instances, and each batch got here out dry and tasteless. Plus, if it’s important to haul out a fry pan in any case, the second cycle in an air fryer is simply including dishes to the equation.

sad looking, dried and weirdly colored, falling apart latkes in an air fryer.

Womp womp.
Illustration: Amanda Blum

Enlist your oven

Take a rimmed cookie sheet and put it in an oven heated to 375℉. Pour a ¼ inch of oil into the cookie sheet, shut the door, and let it warmth up for 12 minutes, leaving one shred of potato within the pan. Once you see the potato scorching, it’s time. Open the oven, fastidiously pull the rack out, and add your latke combine. Significantly although—that oil is scorching, so do that slowly and put on gloves, you don’t want that oil to slosh on you. Ask how I do know. (Don’t ask; the pics will put you off your latkes).

Measurement-wise: Consider them like cookies on a cookie sheet and make smaller latkes, about 10 to a sheet. Bake them for quarter-hour on facet one, then fastidiously flip them over and prepare dinner for one more eight minutes. Latkes must be brown on each side. Switch the latkes with a slotted spatula to your paper towels to empty. This oil is scorching, and also you have to be cautious, however frying them within the oven means no standing over a stovetop, babysitting potatoes. You’re successfully creating a large fry pan, and it guidelines.

crispy latkes draining on paper towels.

Chanukah: the vacation sponsored by paper towels.
Picture: Amanda Blum

Backside line: individuals really feel passionately about latke recipes the best way they do about matzo ball or pasta sauce recipes, there isn’t any universally accepted methodology or recipe—the one magical part is the oil. When you’d wish to be tremendous aspirational in your prep, I salute and rejoice your ambition. I, nevertheless, shall be utilizing this recovered time and power to pop an edible, and binge some Netflix.


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