The Best Latke Recipe on Earth And a Very Brief History of Latkes.
Ok, Hanukkah is coming up, and that means two things: Latkes and dreidels.The VERY Brief History of Latkes. What is the significance of potato latkes? And When were potato pancakes invented?
The first latkes were made by Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus in Italy in the 13th Century. These latkes used cheese, not potatoes, and the rabbi served them on two holidays: Purim and Hanukkah.
By the 19th Century, our poor Ashkenazi ancestors swapped the cheese with potatoes. The cheese was expensive and hard to produce, but the potatoes were cheap and easy to grow.
These Jews brought the tradition to the US and Israel, along with giant tubs of sour cream and apple sauce crates.
(Kidding about the sour cream and apple sauce.)
Hanukkah wouldn't be Hanukkah without latkes.
While one of our founders absolutely goes potatoes at the sight of Trader Joe's Traditional Latkes, the other doesn't have a Trader Joe's near him.
That means we're going to stick to HOMEMADE recipes.
Our favorite recipe for latkes come courtesy of Michele Urvater. It was published on the Food Network as "Recipe for Potato Latkes" -- for your convenience, we pasted it below:
Level: Easy / Total: 32 min / Cook: 32 min / Yield: 4 Servings
- 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons flour (or more) or matzo meal (during Passover)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a food processor, grate the potatoes.
- Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve.
- Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl. Add shallots, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, and freshly ground pepper to the potato starch.
- Return drained potatoes to this mixture.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with paper towels.
- When you are ready to eat, a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides.
- Eat right away or keep warm in the oven. Serve with applesauce or sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.
And now all you have to do is share with us how was your Latke :)
What Is Hanukkah, And Why Is It Celebrated? What Does Hanukkah Mean?