Well, it's that time of year again when I give into making latkes, in spite of the incredible mess frying them creates. After years of trying different methods, a few years back I came across a recipe in Sunset magazine, and it turned out to be the best I've found. It's a breeze to get together; grating the potatoes and onions and transferring both for 30 minutes to an ice-cold water bath, which tames the onions and extracts some of the potato starch. After draining, the mixture is squeezed dry in batches in a clean tea towel. Eggs, salt and potato starch are added, at which time it's ready to fry up in 1/3 cup portions. That's the messy and smelly part, and why I only like to do it once a year. When they're nice and browned and lacy looking, they're removed to paper towels to drain a while. They're absolutely delicious and addictive when served with Elise's adapted applesauce, a drizzle of Mexican crema or sour cream and chopped chives or thinly sliced scallion greens.
Here are the adapted recipes from Sunset and Simply Recipes.
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 45 minutes, plus 30 minutes to soak potatoes
MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
1 onion (8 oz.), peeled and halved, or 1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
3 tablespoons potato starch or all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
About 2 cups vegetable oil
1. Using a hand grater or food processor, shred potatoes, working over a large bowl of cold water or frequently transferring shredded potatoes to water. Shred onion and add to bowl (if using green onion, reserve). Let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Drain potato mixture; wipe bowl clean. Follow steps 1 and 2 at right to dry potatoes; return them to bowl.
3. Add eggs, potato starch, salt, and pepper (and green onions, if using) to bowl and mix well.
4. Pour 1/2 inch oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan (with sides at least 2 in. tall) over medium-high heat. When surface of oil ripples slightly, shape potato mixture into cakes, following step 3 at right. Gently slide each from spatula into hot oil, 3 to 4 pancakes per batch (do not crowd pan). Cook until edges of pancakes are crisp and well browned and undersides are golden brown (lift with spatula to check), about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until remaining sides are golden brown, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then keep warm in a 200° oven while you cook remaining pancakes. Serve hot.
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
4 medium Fuji apples, peeled, cored, chopped
2 pears, peeled, cored, chopped
juice of lemon
lemon peel strips
½ t or so of cinnamon
¼ t or so of nutmeg
¼ cup each white and brown sugar
1 cup water
good pinch salt
good splash of Calvdos
Combine all the ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. I used an immersion blender and gave it a quick zap, but left it a bit chunky.