even though hanukkah is long over sometimes i still get cravings for a crispy crunchy potato pancake (aka hash brown). every year i dread the prospect of making potato pancakes. first the peeling and hand grating of the potatoes, then peeling and chopping the onion, setting up the fry pans and layers of paper towels to blot the grease. it is a huge undertaking. especially when the family treats the little golden delicacies like they are potato chips and proceed to eat them with reckless abandon. they pop one after another in their mouths, not taking in to account all the hours and scraped knuckles that went into the little rounds of fattening and crispy goodness!
my mother and grandmother taught me how to make potato pancakes when i was a little girl. following their recipes, i used the traditional matzo meal or flour as the binding agent. when i found out about matthew’s allergy, i had to find a new direction. a chef at the Beverly hills hotel in california gave me the answer i was searching for! he told me to simply use a baked potato as the starch. thats it! why didn’t i think of that?
This method worked well for me for years. i used one shredded raw potato, one baked potato, one onion and one egg–simple. but everytime i wanted to make these, i had to wait an hour until the potato was baked–pain in the butt and no instant gratification.
while preparing for hanukah this year, my friend Myrna told me about a new recipe she intended to try. instead of using the traditional matzo meal or flour as a binding agent she used fresh potato starch–wrung out by hand into a bowl. BINGO– this was the solution i was hoping for! Instant gratification, relatively quick, crispy potato pancakes and divine tasting!
- 2 large idaho or baking potatoes, shredded
- 1 medium to large onion chopped finely
- 1 medium egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetable or peanut oil
- large shallow fry pan
-in food processor, grate the onion into small pieces–do not make too small, set aside
-peel and grate the potatoes into a medium bowl. using one handful at a time, squeeze the shredded potato into a separate bowl. when all of the liquid (starch) is removed from the shredded potato you will have almost a half cup of liquid. the potato liquid will tuen pink and kind of disgusting looking. at the bottom of the pinkish liquid will be the coveted potato starch that you will use to bind the potato pancakes. carefully pour off the liquid into the sink.
-toss the shredded potato, potato starch, one egg and onion in to a bowl. season with salt and pepper.
- fill the fry pan with about 1 1/2″ oil and heat the oil over medium heat. to check when oil is ready drop a piece of onion into the pan– oil is ready when onion sizzles.
-drop potato mixture by the teaspoon in to the hot oil. turn when golden on one side. pancakes are done when golden on both sides.
-remove and set on layers of paper towel to blot the grease. these can be made ahead and frozen. re-heat in a 350 oven for 5-8 minutes.
-serve plain or with sour cream and apple sauce! this recipe make approximately 30 2″ latkes