8 Secrets of Perfect Latkes!

And now for something completely different. No self-righteous rants. No artful alliterations (I lied). No touching memories or thoughtful reflections. Instead, because Hanukkah starts tonight, I’m just going to tell you a secret about how to make perfect latkes. Actually, eight.

Because everybody likes secrets, don’t they? And recipes rule. Right? And lists? I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for 20 months without posting a single list. Is the even legal? Oh, and why eight? If you have to ask, you’re probably that person who includes matzo in the Hanukkah display at the supermarket.

EIGHT SECRETS OF PERFECT LATKES

1. White Potatoes

You want to make zucchini/sweet potato/apple/whatever fritters? Knock yourself out. But don’t call them latkes. Latkes mean white potatoes. End of story.

2. 4-2-2-2

This is the 9-9-9 of the Festival of Lights. Except instead radically repressive redistribution of wealth, you get the perfect distribution of ingredients:

4 potatoes

2 onions

2 eggs

2 TB flour (really, just enough to hold them together)

One potato per person. Serving some other number of folks? Do the math. (And add salt and pepper to taste.)

3. Grate

By hand or using the grating blade of a food processor. Whatever you do, don’t blend. And don’t use those mixes. You want lacy. You’re making latkes, not fried mashed potatoes.

4. Alternate

Adding the onion between the potatoes keeps the spuds from discoloring. Adding the potatoes between the onions cuts down on the crying.

5. Planter’s Peanut Oil

Just saying.

6. Squeeze

The potato-onion mixture gets too watery. Adding more flour gives you heavy latkes. Keep the mixture in a colander, and squeeze it out as you go.

7. Temperature

Heat the oil (I fill the pan to about half an inch) until a drop of water flicked from your fingers skitters when it hits the oil. If things start to smoke, it’s too hot.

8. No Sweater

Take that thing off and hide it on the other side of the house. Preferably inside a drawer. Otherwise, it’ll be smelling like latkes forever. Although, now that I think about it, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You could see it as a way of extending the latke experience, couldn’t you? You know, like the miracle of the 24-hour supply of oil that lasted as many days as this list has secrets?

Happy Hanukkah!

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6 Responses to “8 Secrets of Perfect Latkes!”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Entirely too true, re: sweaters. Also, before frying, close every bedroom door in the house.

  2. Linda P. Epstein Says:

    Excellent advice. I’ll tell my husband.

  3. Nancy Spigelman Says:

    Sounds like the way my grandma used to make them. Thanks, Ruth

  4. Lorin Duckman Says:

    OK with the white potato, I use russets, not the cheap, watery ones and no Yukon golds. I grate them on the standard grater, small hole side; onions on the big hole side. I add salt, pepper as I grate, mixing the mix in between a few potatoes. Then I put it in a collander and shake out half of the water/blend.

    Bind with one jumbo egg for four medium size tubers and add matzo meal by eye and feel. All this is done under the watchful eye of my Potato Head, Frenchy Duckman. I then let it sit in the fridge for an hour before frying. Peanut oil is a good suggestion; I use canola.

    I also wear an apron, which was a Hanukah present from my wife several years ago. She runs a gamach committee at OZ, one of our shuls. I will make extra latkes for one of her people and family who has stage four cancer. This mitzvah is much more important than doing it right.

  5. 8 Secrets of Perfect Latkes! « Giving Up The Ghost | Iredeem.org a Gulf Coast Pensacola Church Ministry Says:

    […] any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. you can leave a response, or trackback from […]

  6. My End-of-Year Meta-blog « Giving Up The Ghost Says:

    […] Giving Up The Ghost Pictures worth half a thousand words « 8 Secrets of Perfect Latkes! […]

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