Crispy Potato Latkes

We wanted latkes that were light and not greasy, with buttery soft interiors surrounded by a shatteringly crisp outer shell. To achieve all of these goals, we needed to remove as much water as possible from the potato shreds by wringing them out in a kitchen towel and to minimize the release of what remained by microwaving the shreds briefly to cause the starches in the potatoes to form a gel. With the water situation taken care of, the latkes crisped up quickly and absorbed minimal oil.

Photo by Andrei F.
None

PREP TIME

20

minutes

TOTAL TIME

60

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

PREP TIME

20

minutes

TOTAL TIME

60

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

Ingredients

  • 2

    pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and shredded

  • 1/2

    cup grated onion

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2

    large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2

    teaspoons minced fresh parsley

  • vegetable oil for frying

  • applesauce to serve

  • sour cream to serve

Directions

Shred the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater, but you can also use the large shredding disk of a food processor; cut the potatoes into 2-inch lengths first so you are left with short shreds. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 200°F. Toss potatoes, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt in bowl. Place half of potato mixture in center of dish towel. Gather ends together and twist tightly to drain as much liquid as possible, reserving liquid in liquid measuring cup. Transfer drained potato mixture to second bowl and repeat process with remaining potato mixture. Set potato liquid aside and let stand so starch settles to bottom, at least 5 minutes. Cover potato mixture and microwave until just warmed through but not hot, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring mixture with fork every 30 seconds. Spread potato mixture evenly over second rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes. Don’t wash out bowl. Pour off water from reserved potato liquid, leaving potato starch in measuring cup. Add eggs and stir until smooth. Return cooled potato mixture to bowl. Add parsley, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and potato starch mixture and toss until evenly combined. Set wire rack in clean rimmed baking sheet and line with triple layer of paper towels. Heat 1/4-inch depth of oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, at about 350°F. Place 1/4-cup mound of potato mixture in oil and press with nonstick spatula into 1/3-inch-thick disk. Repeat until 5 latkes are in pan. Cook, adjusting heat so fat bubbles around latke edges, until golden brown on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until golden brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Drain on paper towels and transfer to baking sheet in oven. Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding oil to maintain 1/4-inch depth and returning oil to 350°F between batches. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. Serve with applesauce and sour cream. MAKE-AHEAD: Cooled latkes can be covered loosely with plastic wrap and held at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Alternatively, they can be frozen on baking sheet until firm, transferred to zipper-lock bag, and frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat latkes in 375-degree oven until crisp and hot, 3 minutes per side for room-temperature latkes and 6 minutes per side for frozen latkes.

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