For a small batch, try the oven skillet method for these delicious potato latkes (less fry smell!) But the traditional skillet fry method works great too.
Latkes (potato pancakes) are a Jewish tradition for the Chanukah holiday. It’s a holiday where you are supposed to eat fried foods to celebrate the oil lasting 8 nights instead of 1 after much suffering in ancient times (long story). As much as I like fried food, I hate frying because it smells up my kitchen, my hair and my clothes. Yuck.
Since I was assigned to bring latkes to our family Chanukah party this year, I decided to look for a non fried method. I found a couple of recipes including Once Upon a Chef and Food in Jars and started formulating a plan. I was also determined to use my new cast iron skillet (many chefs swear it’s the best for latkes). Most latke recipes are pretty similar – just a few simple ingredients. I decided to go with Jennifer Segal’s from Once Upon a Chef (her recipes always work) with a few changes in the method. One, I used a skillet instead of pans. Two, I chopped my ingredients in a processor instead of grating them (I was lazy). And three, I made a couple of giant latkes and cut them in wedges.
Since I had to quadruple the recipe for a large party, I ended up using both methods – oven and fry. The recipe below gives instructions for both methods. The oven method does start with a two minute fry to be perfectly honest. As you can see in the pictures below, the side that starts with frying comes out darker than the other side.
Which method is better? Well, they both tasted the same and the texture was good with both methods. As I said, the oven method starts with a two minute fry, so I cheated a bit. It was, however, definitely less smelly, but took longer so I fried the last two batches of latkes to save time. I guess it’s a trade off – smellier vs faster. You choose. The other day, my friend Judi said she knew someone who made the latkes outside in an electric skillet to avoid the smell in her kitchen. Clever!
The bottom line, regardless of method, is good latkes. Tender on the inside, crispy on the outside. This year, we’re going to try our latkes with a dollop of dill sour cream and lox.
- Using a processor is WAY faster than hand grating potatoes and onions.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Use sweet potatoes or a combination of sweet and white. I used one sweet potato for colour and 3 white ones when I quadrupled the recipe.
- Add some garlic powder.
- Add some herbs.
- Sour cream (traditional)
- Apple sauce (traditional in our family)
- Herbed sour cream
- Smoked salmon and dill
- Best fresh from the oven, but make ahead works well too. See recipe below