Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Take a Gamble on Shortcut Latkes -- Lots of Flavor without the Grating

See the note below for info on photo
 Let me make one thing perfectly clear.  I don't take to quick and easy latkes. No potato pancake mixes here at Blog Appetit.  My favorite recipe for latkes includes grating plenty of spuds.  (You can find that recipe here.)  But, well, sometimes there just isn't time or the ability to grate the potatoes and that's when Shortcut Latkes really shine.  Fried crisp and fresh they are almost as good as the real deal. Perfect for a weeknight Chanukah meal, or as a light entree or side dish any night. So take a gamble and give these quicker potato pancakes a spin (see note below).

Shortcut Latkes
Makes 10-12 potato pancakes

I used the Simply Potatoes brand.  Use them right out of the fridge for best results. (The colder the mixture, the less likely the pancake will fall apart in the fry pan.) For a milder latke, use the lesser amount of onion and leave out the garlic.  My 19-year-old son made a batch for his first-time ever latkes. You can see a photo of that here.

Note: If you can only find the frozen pre-shredded, please thaw and drain before using.

1-20 oz. package of refrigerated pre-shredded potatoes (may be labeled “hash browns”)
2 eggs
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt
1/3 to ½ cup of finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. matzah cake meal or flour
Canola or corn oil

Beat the eggs in a large bowl with the pepper and salt. Add potatoes, onions and garlic. Mix well. Add cake meal or flour. Mix well. Heat ¼” oil in a large fry pan over medium high heat. Form patties about 3” in diameter and ¼ to ½” thick. When a bit of batter put into the pan sizzles, slide 3-4 patties into hot oil, being careful not to crowd pan. Press down on pancakes with spatula occasionally as they cook. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown and crispy. Remove to paper-towel covered plate. Add more oil if necessary and allow to come back to “sizzle” before frying next batch. Repeat as needed. Keep warm in a low (200 degree) oven if desired. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream or plain yogurt.
Note:  Re the photo and gamble/take a spin -- a little pun about the dreidels and gelt in the photograph.  A favorite game of Chanukah (sometimes spelled Hanukkah), it involves spinning a top and seeing where it lands.  Gelt, originally money now usually chocolate coins, is wagered on the outcome.  For more on the game and its rules, please click to this post for directions, suggestions and even a paper template to make your own dreidel.

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