It had been years since I’d had a good latke. That changed this weekend when my my friend said, “Come over for brunch. I’m making latkes.” I couldn’t get out the door fast enough.
After her divine latkes, I didn’t even wait a full 24 hours until I resurrected a recipe I mostly remember being taught more than 20 years ago. I was working at my first post-college job as a newspaper reporter. The office clerk was Jewish and insisted on bringing me a pile of fried latkes and doughnuts as a thank you for writing a story about Hanukkah.
Fried food when I was an impressionable 22-year-old was more valuable than cold, hard cash. There was no way I would have turned down those treats, and I knew she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Vida was her name, and she was known for having a bit of a sassy attitude. I think she liked the fact I could keep up and sass right back.
This is my simplified version of a traditional latke recipe that will result in crispy, fried pancakes in less than half an hour. I think they would make Vida proud.
- 2 medium russet potatoes
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus more, if needed)
- Sour cream and applesauce for serving
Scrub and rinse potatoes, leaving skins on. Using a box grater, shred potatoes and set aside. Shred 1/2 yellow onion and add to potatoes in cheesecloth or paper towels.
Wring out excess water, removing as much moisture as possible. Add potato and onion shreds to a medium bowl and separate with a fork. Let dry for about 10 minutes to ensure as much moisture is removed as possible.
Whisk in egg, salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over high heat, add 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Once oil is hot, drop latke mix in using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Smash down with a fork and fry for 3 to 5 minutes per side until extra crispy.
Transfer latkes to a cooling rack over a sheet pan or on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil. Serve warm with sour cream and applesauce.