College Cooking: Potato Pancakes

It is nearing the end of the high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During these times one of my favorite things to make are potato pancakes (also known as Latkes). They are very easy to make, although a little messy, and always delicious. They are best served with either sour cream, if you like things savory, or apple sauce for those that prefer sweet. 

Note: It is totally normal for the potatoes to start turning a brownish grey color, as they are simply oxidizing. Before mixing, it’s best to keep the potatoes submerged in a bowl of water with as much salt as you would if cooking pasta, which will help to avoid this. Strain all of the water out and try to squeeze as much water out of the potatoes as possible. It’s best done with a clean dry kitchen towel, rendering the potatoes ready for mixing. 

To adjust the texture of the pancake, send some of the potatoes through the blender twice. The more potatoes that are blended twice, the smoother it will be. I personally like a ratio of about two thirds shredded to one third blended potato.

Potato pancakes are typically made with breadcrumbs; if you don’t have any on hand, flour works just as well. It is best to do a small test batch at the beginning to ensure the seasoning is to your liking. Often, you will need more seasoning than you expect. While cooking, be extremely careful to avoid hot oil splatters.

Ingredients:

5 lbs. potatoes
½ large onion
1 cup breadcrumbs OR ½ cup flour
4 eggs
Salt & pepper to taste
Frying oil

Steps

1. Peel and shred all of the potatoes, best to do with a food processor and the large shredding blade

2. Take approximately one third of the shredded potatoes and put back into the food processor with the blade that sits at the bottom. Pulse until you get a smoother consistency

3. Using the food processor, shred half an onion. Then, put them into a large mixing bowl

4. Add in the shredded and processed potatoes.

5. Mix in the eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

6. Heat a medium-large fry pan and pour in about half an inch worth of oil to cover the bottom.

7. Once it’s hot, (the oil will start to sizzle loudly) start to spoon the potato mixture into the oil. Be careful to avoid being burned by the oil.

8. Flatten each scoop a little and let it fry on one side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the bottom.

9. Carefully flip the pancake and allow it to cook for another 2 minutes or until golden brown.

10. Remove it from the oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess grease.

11. Place a layer of paper towel in between each layer of potato pancakes as you stack them high on the plate. 

12. Add more oil when needed or replace the oil if too much is burning in the oil. 

13. Enjoy!

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