Latkes, or potato pancakes, are a traditional dish found on many Hanukkah tables. They're also frequently found in chef Michael Symon's kitchen. He's been enjoying potato pancakes his entire life; when he was little, his dad would make them for breakfast. Last week, I was lucky enough to experience Symon's crispy, flavorful latkes firsthand. While he cooked up a batch, Symon provided some tips on how to make the ideal potato pancake. Get his suggestions, after the break.
- Use russet potatoes. Symon prefers russets for their "perfect ratio of starchiness to liquid."
- Remove as much liquid as possible. Line a bowl with a thin kitchen towel and let the grated potatoes drain. Then, wrap the towel around them and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
- Don't incorporate too much flour. Add just enough flour to barely bind the potatoes. "You don't want pancakes with potatoes in them. They should be potato pancakes."
- Fry in animal fat. According to Symon, extra virgin olive oil has a low smoking point. Thus, cooking at a high temperature will cause the oil to break down and lose flavor. He likes to fry his potatoes in bacon fat.
- Work quickly. Potato pancakes are hard to make in advance. Air will cause the potato to oxidize and turn brown, so fry the cakes soon after forming. Cook for about two minutes per side, until the potatoes are "GBD — golden brown and delightful!"
What's your secret for making potato pancakes? Please share with us below!
Source: Flickr User kthread