Suzy showed up for our latke cooking date yesterday in her old t-shirt and jeans, leaving her nice fleece zip up in the car so the distinct scent of canola oil wouldn’t have a comfy place to settle in. I also wore an old t-shirt and sweatpants, sure that I would need a change of clothes before I left the house. (I never did get to change and ran my kids around all afternoon looking like a slob. Oh the price we pay to create golden potato pancakes.) From our scruffy attire, it was clear that over the years we’ve both learned a lot about making latkes, especially in bulk. Fashion statements are the first thing to go!
Suzy’s new kitchen is just about done and she’s cooking mostly everything in it now. But we decided to cook these little suckers in my shabby kitchen since Suzy’s marble tiled backsplash isn’t treated yet. We didn’t want our grease splattering project to do any real damage. The truth is, we may just continue to make greasy foods at my house and I’m just fine with that. I wouldn’t want to be the gal to christen her new kitchen with a permanent stain. Next week we hope to bake something sweet and easy in Suzy’s new kitchen and I can’t wait! I’ll let her choose.
Suzy started peeling while I worked the Cuisinart, shredding 10 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes and four onions. After leaving 5 pounds of potatoes bare naked, Suzy’s hand needed a rest so she started the process of frying, draining and freezing. I worked on the other 5 pounds myself. It’s a big production but we’ve got it down pat.
With the complimentary OXO egg beater I was given to test and review, I gave the eggs a quick beating. Suzy scoffed a bit since she thought a fork would do the trick just fine. But I like this new egg beater, a simple and modern version of the one I grew up with. The coolest thing about the egg beater? With the press of two buttons it separates for easy cleaning. It’s the perfect little tool when you don’t want to deal with the electric mixer but want a good beating and something that works better and faster than a fork. And I have one for one of my lucky readers! Just leave a comment by the end of the day on Sunday and I’ll draw a winner. You may just win this clever stocking stuffer for yourself!*
Suzy uses two small spoons to form her latkes and I just grab some with my hands. When Suzy was in charge of the frying, the heat was turned down to medium instead of the usual medium high when I’m at the helm. With 160 golden latkes flipped in a two hour time period, it was clear that slow and steady wins the race.
Since we’ve learned so much about making latkes, I’ll share our best secrets to success:
1) Yukon Gold’s are the best potatoes to use and result in a crispy, creamy and flavorful pancake.
2) Let the potatoes rule. Latkes (as the name suggests) are supposed to be potato pancakes. So often people let the flour and onions take over. Follow our proportions for the perfect potatoes.
3) Drain some of the starch before mixing. Suzy always soaks her shredded potatoes in water and then rings them out before mixing in the flour and egg. If you do this to at least half the mixture, you’ll be thrilled with a less starchy result.
4) You must work quickly getting the latkes from skillet, to paper towel-lined plates to freezer. The faster they go from skillet to freezer, the better they’ll taste later.
5) Freezing is best. Never attempt to make fresh latkes for a Hanukah party. The freshly made ones have a chance to sit around and get soggy. You’ll be happier pulling them fresh from the freezer and reheating them even crispier than they came out the first time around. Plus, you will actually enjoy the party rather than being in a grease-drenched kitchen.
6) Always make latkes with a friend. Who wants to hang out alone and deal with so much frying?
7) Olive oil is the best oil to use for frying the latkes. But olive oil can get costly so if you don’t want to use 100% olive, mix canola with olive oil. Your latkes will be even more delicious!
8) Don’t let your latkes sit for too long on the paper towel lined plates. Get them into the freezer as soon as you can after a quick cool or they’ll get soggy!
Here’s our recipe for BIG BATCH POTATO LATKES. Enjoy!
Big Batch Potato Latkes
This is a lot of potato pancakes and a two hour job. If you aren’t up for such a big job, scale the recipe down by half. You and a friend will still get a good amount of latkes! It took us two hours of working pretty non-stop. Not so bad for 180 of these delicious little bites of glory!
10 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and shredded
4 onions, shredded
2 cups white flour
6 eggs, lightly beaten
A generous mixture of canola and olive oil for frying
Soak the shredded potatoes in water and then drain well with your hands.
Divide all of the ingredients into two large bowls. Place 5 pounds of shredded potatoes, two onions, 1 cup flour and 3 eggs in one bowl and the same in another. You may need to mix the mixture in batches by taking some out and placing it another bowl so that the flour and egg get mixed into the potatoes.
Get two non-stick skillets working on the stovetop and heat 1/8 inch of olive and canola oil until hot (but not too hot). Place potato mixture by the spoonful into the skillets, making as many little latkes you can. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on each and cook for about five minutes until golden. Flip using a small spatula and cook until the other side is golden. Drain on paper towel lined plate for a minute or so and then transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Place uncovered in the freezer and freeze until hardened. Continue making latkes until all of the potato mixture is used, continuing to cook on a medium heat (not too high!). You may need to replenish your oil several times. Make sure to quickly drain the latkes and add them to the others resting in the freezer.
If space is an issue, you can lay sheets of aluminum foil between the layers of latkes in the freezer. (Suzy taught me this trick!)
*DISCLAIMER: I received this egg beater as a gift from the folks at OXO. One for you and one for me! If I like it I said I’d offer it as a giveaway and if not, I’d send it back. Enjoy!