Served as an appetizer, side dish or breakfast, these delightful potato pancakes are rooted in historic Jewish cuisine. Originally made with matzoh meal. Over time, they adapted to the potato when that vegetable became a staple of Polish and Russian agriculture.
- 6 large baking potatoes; peeled, quartered
- 3 onions; quartered
- 4 eggs; lightly beaten
- 1/4 Cup flour (to 1/2 Cup)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- peanut oil; for frying
- Grate potatoes and onions in food processor using small-hole grater attachment; alternatively, you can pulse them with steel blade. Be careful not to over-process or you'll get a glue-like mess. (If you're grating potatoes and onions by hand, leave them whole and grate them on largest holes of box grater.)
- Transfer grated potatoes and onions to sieve set over large bowl. Press down with wooden spoon to release liquid into bowl. with your hands, squeeze remaining moisture from potatoes and onions and spread them out on paper towels. It's important that potatoes be dry.
- Put potatoes and onions in large clean bowl. Pour off liquid that has drained from potatoes, reserving heavy starch remaining in bottom of bowl. Transfer starch to potatoes and onions. Add eggs, along with 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper. Mix completely with wooden spoon.
- Heat 1/4 inch oil in large heavy frying pan over medium heat to 350 degrees. (I like cast iron.) When oil is almost smoking, add 1/3 cup batter for each latke, pressing down to flatten batter. (I like small, flat, crisp latkes, but others prefer larger, thicker ones. Adjust the quantity of batter to your taste, pressing down or not. Don't crowd the pan.) Cook until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
- As each batch is done, transfer to paper towel-lined platter and serve. If you must, you can keep latkes warm 30 minutes or so in 200-degree oven without doing too much damage.
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