Created by: Cathy Pollack, Noble Pig
Latkes are one of my favorite parts of the Hanukkah meal. I grew up eating latkes, but not being Jewish, we called them potato pancakes. My Polish grandmother grated the potatoes on the finest section of her box grater. Before she could finish all the potatoes, they were turning brown because they're quick to oxidize. Ultimately, they didn't look very appetizing.
I have to admit that the consistency of those pancakes were pretty mushy. The color was a strange brown with a tinge of green. If you're familiar with making latkes, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But they were edible and they tasted good with a little sour cream on top. And let's face it – it's not like I knew any better and I wasn't about to question my grandmother's cooking skills.
Fast forward many years. My husband is Jewish and he thought he would educate me on best practices when it comes to making latkes. His recipe consisted of mixing half fresh potatoes and latke mix into one recipe. It was still your typical, off-colored, mushy latke. I knew I had to fix it.
I started experimenting with different binders and larger-sized potato shreds. I found that grating the potatoes into water helped keep them from turning brown so quickly. I also added panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch and potato starch (available in the baking aisle close to other specialty flours) as a binder. The result is a crispy latke that stays together well when you flip it side to side.
These latkes aren't just beautiful. They're crunchy, golden brown and they taste delicious. Topped with a little horseradish sour cream, they're the star of the Hanukkah table.
- 1¼ lb. russet potatoes, peeled and shredded using the largest setting of a box grater
- ¾ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup potato starch
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- ¾ tsp. white pepper
- ¾ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Shred the potatoes on the largest setting of your box grater into a bowl of cold water, making sure they are completely submerged. This helps prevent oxidation and browning of the potatoes.
- Mix together the onion, panko, potato starch, salt and peppers in a large bowl. Drain the potatoes into a colander, pressing to squeeze out any excess water. Add the potatoes to the onion-panko mixture and mix until well combined.
- In a large 12” cast iron skillet, heat about ¼” of oil over low heat. You'll probably have to add a little more oil with each batch you fry. When the oil is hot, scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture and gently shape into a round pancake. Don't make them too flat or press too hard. The mixture will hold together well as-is.
- Fry on one side until golden brown and gently flip over to do the same, about 2-3 minutes per side. You can easily fry 4-5 latkes at a time. Keep the finished latkes warm in a 250° F oven or in a warming drawer until you're ready to serve.
- The Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce can be made earlier in the day. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until fully incorporated. Keep the sauce in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish it with extra chives on top.