Potato latkes with roasted smashed apples and pears.
(photo credit: YAKIR LEVY)
Even experienced potato latke makers appreciated Amelia Saltsman’s tips at her recent cooking demonstration of Hanukka specialties from her new cookbook, The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Tradition.To make latkes the way her family likes them – thin and crisp – Saltsman uses starchy potatoes such as baking potatoes, and not waxy ones like boiling potatoes. The results are best when you grate the potatoes on a box grater; you can use a food processor but the shreds come out too long, and after they are removed from the processor, they should be cut in a few pieces with a knife. For frying, use a slope-sided pan but not a nonstick one, or the latkes won’t brown. Latkes can cause trouble if the oil used for frying isn’t hot enough. Begin heating the oil over medium, not high, heat, so you have more control. It’s best to fry the potato pancakes just before serving time, but you can make them a few hours in advance and reheat them uncovered in one layer in a moderate oven. (See recipe.)