I know everyone and their mother probably has a recipe for potato pancakes, but I recently discovered a new method for making them and it’s SO GOOD. And since Hanukkah, that celebration of fried food, begins tomorrow, it seemed like a fine time to mention it.
The secret is onion – quite a lot of onion, too. Really, it makes a huge difference! Mitchell Davis, author of the very useful book Kitchen Sense, attributes the technique to his mother, and I was amazed the first time I tried it. You grate the onion alternately with the potato so its juices coat the potato shreds and keep them from browning. Then it all gets mixed together with egg and matzo meal and fried slowly, producing a savory pancake with a perfectly crunchy outside and a soft sweet interior. I’ve made them two or three times now, and they are the very best latkes I’ve ever eaten. A little horseradish creme fraiche doesn’t hurt, either.
And by the way, today marks the end of another National Blog Posting Month – I made it all 30 days! Daily posting is not likely to continue, but we’ll see where inspiration leads me. As always, thanks for reading!
Recipe after the jump…
Adapted from Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis. Makes enough pancakes for two people.
- 1 pound potatoes (I like Yukon Gold or similar varieties)
- 1 large onion
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp matzo meal or bread crumbs
- 1 tsp salt
Lay out a clean dishtowel, and grate part of a potato onto it. Then grate part of an onion over that, then switch back to potato. Alternate potato and onion until it’s all grated, then roll up the dishtowel and wring as much liquid out as possible.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg and mix in the matzo meal and salt. Add the grated potato and onion and mix well.
Put a large cast iron or heavy nonstick pan over medium high heat and put in about 1/8 inch of vegetable oil. When it’s hot, scoop up handfuls of the potato mixture, shaping each into a rough disk and slipping it into the oil. Don’t crowd the pancakes – if they don’t fit easily, use an extra pan or do them in batches. Let them cook about 10 minutes, until golden and crusty on the bottom. Carefully flip and cook another 5-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the temperature to make sure they don’t brown too fast. Drain on paper towels and eat while hot.