Splat! Potato Latkes
From Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family (Workman) by Judy Bart Kancigor
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I have noticed through the years that there is a tendency among latke illuminati to view with disdain those who blend. “Oh, no,” they tsk-tsk when they see my recipe, just a touch of feigned sympathy in their eyes. “I use a food processor. I like texture.”
Texture? You want texture? I’ll give you texture. Use my splat! method and you’ll get all the texture you want with these crunchy babies. They’re all crispy outsides, with practically no insides. My family hovers over the pan to fight over the thinnest ones, which are so full of holes you can practically see through them. Cathy Thomas, food editor of The Orange County Register, called them “crunchy wonders” and “crispy-brown snowflakes” . . . but I don’t like to brag. Makes about 3 dozen latkes.
2 pounds baking potatoes
2 large eggs 1/2 medium-size onion, coarsely
chopped 1/2 medium-size firm apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher (coarse) salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or matzoh meal
Peanut or canola oil, for frying
Applesauce and/or sour cream, for serving
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. To keep them white and release some of the starch, submerge them in a bowl of water while you’re preparing the remaining ingredients.
2. Place the eggs in a blender. Add the onion, apple, salt, white pepper, and baking powder. Drain the potatoes and squeeze them dry in paper towels. Add enough of the potatoes to fill the blender (all 2 pounds may not fit). Turn on the blender, and pushing down on the sides with a rubber spatula (careful you don’t blend the spatula—there is no rubber in this recipe), blend until the potatoes just move around. Add the remaining potatoes as you’re blending, but do not overprocess or make it too smooth. The texture should resemble applesauce. (This takes about 6 seconds in my Osterizer.)
3. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and add the flour. The batter should be flowing, but not too thin.
4. Now for the real secret of my very crisp latkes: Pour enough oil into a large skillet to coat the bottom. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is quite hot but not smoking. Use a serving spoon to scoop up the batter (about 2 tablespoons per scoop), hold the spoon about 8 inches above the pan, and spill it all at once. Splat! Remove your hand quickly so you don’t burn yourself. (Like tennis, it’s all in the wrist.) The batter will splatter, forming holes . . . the better to hold the sour cream or applesauce. Repeat with as many as will fit in the skillet without
crowding. Cook until browned, about 1 minute. Then flip them over and cook the other side for 1 minute.
5. Drain the latkes well on paper towels, and keep them warm while you cook the remainder, adding more oil as needed.
6. Serve immediately, with applesauce and/or sour cream.