Shredded potato latkes

December 9, 2009

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Makes about 10 (3-inch) pancakes

My mother used to grate potatoes on a rectangular wire grater that had dozens of small square openings. Her latkes went from the skillet to a paper bag to drain. This year, she decided to use the largest holes on a box grater for plumper shreds and soak them in cold water to keep them white, and, it turns out, crunchy. She drained them on a wire rack set on a baking sheet and popped them into the oven. The rack kept the pancakes from sitting in oil and kept both sides crisp. That same method is used here, but with the shredding disc of a food processor.

4 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, quartered
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons matzo meal or flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil (for shallow frying)
1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Set a wire cake rack on a baking sheet. Have a large bowl of ice water on hand.

2. In a food processor fitted with the shredding disk, shred the potatoes. Transfer them to the ice water.

3. Work the onion in the food processor and transfer to a large bowl.

4. Set the bowl of onion near the sink. Set the bowl of potatoes into the sink. With your hands, scoop up handfuls of potatoes and squeeze the water into the sink. Place the drained potatoes in the bowl of onions. Stir well.

5. Add the egg, matzo meal or flour, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Stir thoroughly again.

6. In a large skillet, heat enough vegetable oil over medium-high heat to make a 1/8-inch layer. When the surface shimmers, use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to transfer 5 scoops of batter to the skillet. Gently press them with the back of a spatula so they’re 1/2-inch thick. Cook without disturbing for 3 minutes or until the bottoms are nicely browned.

7. Turn and continue cooking for 2 minutes or until the bottoms are nicely brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Then set them on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Serve with applesauce or sour cream. Debra Samuels