There are all kinds of ways people prefer their latkes: thin and lacy, meaty and crispy, kicked up with horseradish or shredded vegetables, spun from leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes (!!!)…and I know you’re probably expecting me to give you some diehard purist take here, but the truth is, I love them all equally. They are fried potatoes after all. Below is the recipe I use the most often — I realize using onion powder instead of shredded fresh onions might be controversial, but I find it helps reduce the liquid content and liquid = enemy of crispy. I’ve made them for holiday parties (you can fry ahead of time and warm up, covered, in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes), serving them alongside a selection of toppings like smoked salmon and fresh shredded horseradish. We will definitely do this for a complete dinner, too, once Hanukkah starts on Sunday.
Latkes with Fixins
3 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
vegetable oil (a lot, or at least enough to maintain about 1/4 inch in the pan)
Assorted toppings: smoked salmon, sour cream, chopped fresh dill, capers, freshly grated horseradish, chunky applesauce, minced red onion, caviar
Grate the potatoes in a food processor using the shredding disk. Add to a colander and rinse with cold water. Press down to remove as much liquid as possible, then transfer the potatoes to a dish towel and wrap, squeezing so every last drop of moisture is extracted. Add to a large mixing bowl with the onion powder, egg, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large skillet in about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, fry 1/4-cup dollops of the potato mixture, flattening with a spoon, for about 4 minutes a side. remove to a paper-towel-lined platter, then place in a baking dish, covered with foil, to keep warm. Serve with various toppings.
P.S. If You Are a Writer…
….or if you think you might want to be a writer, or if you want to feel part of a community of writers, or if you don’t want to be a capital-W Writer but believe that the act of journaling might make you feel connected to something bigger or hold some mysterious therapeutic power…please subscribe to The Isolation Journals. The project was started by Between Two Kingdoms author Suleika Jaouad, and every week, she sends out a prompt from your favorite writers and artists and thought leaders, like: What does home mean to you? Or: Think of a moment when you made a difficult decision and imagine what might have happened if you had made a different one. This week, I was honored to contribute a prompt to the project about three of my favorite topics: food, love, and gratitude. Please consider subscribing or following them on instagram.
Latke photo: Chelsea Cavanaugh