This is my favorite holiday food – no doubt about it, nothing even comes close. With a smooth interior, a crispy exterior, and a taste of onion, these potato latkes (or pancakes) are best served very hot, straight from the oven. Every year, I am witness to conversations, even arguments, about how latkes should be eaten, with applesauce, sour cream, a little salt, or (my accompaniment of choice) a sprinkling of sugar. Whatever you choose, I guarantee these will be a hit. In all the latke recipes I have seen, no one describes the blender technique I use to make these holiday favorites. It is unusual, but it works; trust me on this one. I make these by the hundreds in December, and freeze them to serve at holiday parties for family and friends. No matter what else I serve, these are the stars of the menu.
6 medium size potatoes (4-4 1/2 pounds)
1 large onion
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Peel the potatoes and keep in cold water in a bowl or pot until ready to proceed. Peel the onion and cut in chunks. Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan or deep griddle until hot.
Cut a potato in chunks and place the potato and a piece of onion in a blender along with 1/2-1 cup of cold water. Grate until well-processed, then pour into a sieve set over a bowl or in the sink. (The cold water removes excess starch and helps the potatoes stay white.) Let the water drain out; press on the solids to release more liquid. Continue grating all the potatoes and onions and pouring into the sieve. After pressing to remove liquid, place the potato and onion mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.
Carefully drop by large spoonfuls (1/8–1/4 cup) into the hot oil. Gently press with the back of the spoon to flatten into a pancake shape. Brown the latkes on both sides until golden. (Take care when turning to avoid splatters; I use a spatula and a fork to turn the latkes in the oil.) If liquid forms on the top of the potato mixture, remove with a spoon or pour the mixture into the sieve once again. Drain the latkes on brown paper bags.
Serve hot, or cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer. If you are serving the latkes later, undercook them slightly when frying. To reheat, place the latkes on a cookie sheet and broil until brown and crisp, or heat in a preheated 425-degree convection oven for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.
This recipe makes about 27 latkes.