Potato Latkes Kinder on Knuckles and Nails

One year I made 100 potato latkes for my brother and sister-in-law’s annual Hanukkah party. That wasn’t enough according to everyone.

I have to ask here — are there ever enough potato latkes?

So I made 100 more.

Okay, I admit they were small, mini-latkes, about 1-1/2” size. Still, I did make 200 of them.

My hands were red and raw. Forget the manicure! I shouldn’t have bothered with one. And the thing is, these latkes went so fast that they were devoured in less time than it had taken me to even peel all the potatoes.

The year after that I suggested that they buy the latkes and I would bring a giant homemade challah. That’s been the deal since 2008.

Since then I still make potato latkes for my kids and grandkids (maybe a double recipe) and I have figured out a way to prepare the potatoes in a food processor and have them come out like the old fashioned hand grated kind.

In a food processor you really can’t “grate” the potatoes. You can either shred or chop them. Neither is exactly right for old fashioned potato latkes. So, I shred the potatoes first, then put them back inside the workbowl and use the S-blade to chop them finer (but chopping AFTER shredding results in a more grater-like chop). The result is almost grated potatoes.

It is MUCH kinder on hands, knuckles and nails and MUCH quicker too. Here’s the recipe:

Potato Latkes

4 large Russet-type baking potatoes, peeled

1 large yellow onion

3 tablespoons matzo meal, bread crumbs or potato starch

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil for frying

Shred the potatoes and onion using the shredding disk of a food processor. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Replace the shredding disk with the S-blade and put the vegetables back into the workbowl. Pulse until the potato shreds are much smaller and look “grated.” Using a handful or two at a time, place the mixture into a kitchen towel and squeeze as much liquid out as possible, then place the mixture in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining potato-onion mixture. Add the matzo meal and toss the ingredients. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder and mix to distribute the ingredients thoroughly. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a matzo meal crumb sizzle, add some of the potato mixture to the pan, forming small pancakes, anywhere from 1-1/2-inch size to 3-inch size. Be sure to leave ample space between each latke so that they fry properly — if they are too close they will “steam” slightly and the latkes will be soggy. Be sure the vegetable oil remains hot — if the temperature gets too low the latkes may become soggy. Fry the latkes for 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy and browned. Drain on paper towels. Makes 24 small or 12 large pancakes