Note: this recipe was part of a book I wrote called Eat Like A Maisel.
Yield: 4–6 latkes
Baz: “Next time, I’d like some latkes.”
Midge: “I make great latkes. Genius latkes. You won’t be sorry!”
Oh, Baz. He knows he’s in a great position. As long as he gives Joel a terrible time, he can get free brisket. And, while he’s got a pink Pyrex full of beautiful brisket, he’s got the chutzpah to ask for latkes next time. You gotta hand it to him. He knows what he’s doing. At least when it comes to negotiating for food.
You have a few options for cooking this recipe. Instead of creating one giant latke and cutting it after cooking, you could create smaller individual latkes and flip them using a spatula. Or you could use a smaller pan and just make smaller latkes.
They are light and fluffy and crunchy, the holy trinity of potato perfection. Which is a bit confusing in a traditionally Jewish dish.
1 pound (453 g) russet potatoes
1 bunch, (4 to 6) green onions
6 tablespoons (80 g) canola oil
Peel and coarsely grate potatoes. If you have a food processor, use the grater attachment to quickly grate all the potatoes. If not, use a box grater and prepare to get a workout.
Immediately put the grated potatoes in a bowl and fill with water. Soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the root and white parts of the green onions and discard. Cut off the darkest green parts—usually the top 3 to 6 inches—of two of the onions and set aside. Make one cut down the length of the green onion tubes, taking care not to split the entire onion into two separate halves. You’re just opening up the tube. Then, slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
Set aside. We’ll use those for a garnish. You can keep the greens in a little tub of water and stick them in the fridge if you’re not going to use them for a few hours. It’ll keep them nice and crisp.
Slice the rest of the green onions crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. It’s okay to mix the light green and dark green parts together for this. Set aside.
Dry the grated potatoes in a salad spinner. If you don’t have a salad spinner, drain them in a large sieve, and then dry on a paper towel–lined baking sheet.
Heat 1/8 inch of canola oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat. When it starts to shimmer, reduce heat to medium and carefully add a third of the potatoes. Don’t splash the hot oil everywhere. Sprinkle them in like you’re a fairy blessing someone with potatoes.
Sprinkle half of the green onions on top of the potatoes. Repeat with another third of the potatoes, and the rest of the green onions. Sprinkle the remaining potatoes on top.
Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until well browned. Use a fish turner or offset spatula to flip the giant latke. Don’t hurt yourself. Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the other side is browned.
Slide the giant latke onto a paper towel–lined plate. Cut into quarters and serve immediately, topped with the reserved sliced dark green onion. If you reserved them in water, be sure to drain them before using.
The Art of Latke Flipping
There’s no high quite like killing it on stage. (I could be wrong . . . I’ve never done drugs.) But flipping a giant latke comes close.
The hardest part of flipping latke is the mental preparation. It’s mandatory that you stress out. It’s important that you work yourself into a mental tizzy visualizing the flip. The wrist pop, the midair flip. The oil splattering all over your new Theory shirt or dress. The dog barking in anticipation that, as usual, the latke turning end over end in the air will land on the floor.
But then you stick the landing. The latke falls magically into the pan as if it never left in the first place. The crowd cheers.
You don’t have a crowd? You should totally get yourself a crowd.