Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Mardi Gras calls for fat foods, sweet foods, meaty foods--all the decadent deliciousness that you're supposed to give up for Lent.

In my mind, I had planned an epic breakfast-for-dinner feast of pancakes (maybe), sausage, bacon, and the star of the show, latkes.

In practice, the DDH had to work late and didn't come home before his Youth Board meeting, and I had Zumba and, well, I made the latkes....

Latkes, Kartoffelpuffer, potato pancakes...whatever you call them, they're delicious.

I was introduced to these culinary wonders by my third grade teacher, who was (is? she's probably not dead yet) Jewish. Oil-fried latkes are a traditional food at Hanukkah. I pretty much thought they were the most amazing food ever created by man, and after this my mother would periodically indulge us and make them at home. We usually ate them topped with sour cream.

In Tulsa, Kartoffelpuffer are the highlight of any event sponsored by the German-American Society, where they are served topped with applesauce.

Latkes are divine topped with either sour cream or applesauce, but a little bland plain. Keep this in mind.

They are crispy-fried on the outside and moist on the inside. You will not be able to eat just one.


Baking potatoes (russets) work best for these because of their starch content (at least, that's what Joy of Cooking says). But you might as well try them with whatever potatoes you have on hand, because did I mention how delicious they are?

Coarsely grate some potatoes. I did a large-mediumish one and two small-mediumish ones and that made four cups of grated potato.

A cheese grater works just fine on potatoes, too.
Dump your bowl o' grated potato onto a clean dish towel.

Preferably a towel that's not very fuzzy.
Fold the dish towel over the potatoes and press to absorb the moisture.

Like so.
I then scooped handfuls into another dish towel and tried to wring out more moisture before returning them to the bowl. You want to remove as much as possible, but you won't be able to remove it all, so don't worry too much.

For four cups of grated potato, I added three jumbo eggs, beaten. We bought them from a different farmer last week and they are huge freaking eggs. If yours are more normal sized, you may wish to try four, or six. More eggs will make a creamier, eggy cake while fewer make them more like hash browns.

Do as I say, not as I do, and beat the eggs first.
I then added about 2 Tbs. flour, 2 tsp. salt (you could definitely get away with less), and 2 heaping Tbs. chopped onions.

You could get away with less salt.
You will notice I neglected to beat the eggs before adding them to the potatoes, so I broke up the yokes with a fork here.

It worked out.
Mix together thoroughly.

Try and coat all the potato in egg/flour mixture.
In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 inch vegetable or peanut oil.

Canola oil works well.
It will take five or ten minutes to heat up. One way to test that it's hot enough is to stick a wooden chopstick in the pan. A stream of bubbles should rise from the chopstick.

Place a heaping scoop of potato mixture in the hot oil.

You should be able to fit three or four in your pan at a time,
depending on the size of the pan and the size of the latkes.
Depending on how hot your oil is, you may let them fry for a minute or so before flipping them, or you may have to make a mad dash for the tongs to flip them almost immediately. You'll be able to tell.

Other side.
Fry on the other side until both sides are a tasty golden brown.

Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat.

The first batch got a bit crispy 'round the edges.
As the potato mixture sits, you'll notice liquid pooling in the bowl. This is just the water being drawn out of the potatoes. Don't worry about it; you'll just have to sort of spill it off the sides of your spoon, since ideally you don't want to pour water into hot oil (Never Pour Water On A Grease Fire, does anyone else remember those PSAs?).

Like so.
Top with sour cream, applesauce, cottage cheese, yogurt cheese, cinnamon sugar, jam, etc. and devour.

Sour cream on top.
As I said, they're a bit bland (and salty) without any sort of topping, but a creamy or sweet topping cuts the hearty saltiness of the oily potatoes and makes everything amazing forever.

Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside.
I did not make enough of these....

I made more than this. Still not enough.
I just noticed I didn't have a potato tag yet. HOW DID I NOT HAVE A POTATO TAG?


  1. Those look delicious. I love latkes! To make them less bland, you could add more onion, or a combo of onion and green onion. And maybe some green chile. Yummmm!

    And, Mrs. Burckley is retired, but still alive. :-)

  2. Oh, why didn't I think of green onions! We have some growing on the windowsill and that would have gone perfectly--though not if you were going the applesauce-topping route, I don't think.

    Green chile latkes? I guess that would work.

    I'm so glad to hear it. ^_^



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