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Grampa Stephen’s Latkes (World’s Best Potato Pancakes)

Since I’ve known her, Dana has talked about her dad’s famous potato latkes. She makes such a big deal about them that I begged her to bring her entire brood to my house for a lesson in latke making.

The kids ran around while Dana and her dad got right to work peeling potatoes. Dana’s dad (Grampa Stephen to the kiddos) makes his latkes by “feel” so I had to watch him like a hawk.

To my surprise (and delight) the secret ingredient is minced garlic!  Grampa Stephen doesn’t add salt until he takes the latke out of the oil. The coarse salt sits on top of the latke just under the apple sauce. This sweet and salty mix is amazing.

Look who got to be our little taste tester! Needless to say, she L-O-V-E-D her first latke. Big thanks to Dana and her dad for the tutorial. Now for the latke that lives up to the hype…

PS: You know the kind of latke that looks like a bird’s nest? That’s the kind I’ve always made in the past. Now I’m 110% converted. These taste so much better, come out perfect every time and are easier to make!

Grampa Stephen’s Latkes Recipe

Prep Time: 20 mins  Cooking Time: 15 to 20 mins

8 to 10 medium russet potatoes
1 large brown onion
2 rounded tablespoons jarred minced garlic
4 eggs
1 cup matzo meal
1/2 cup canola oil
coarse kosher salt
1 jar apple sauce for serving

Peel and quarter the potatoes and onions. Fit your food processor with the standard blade and place half of the potatoes and half of the onions in the food processor. (Grampa Stephen insists that no matter how big your food processor, batching is essential.) Pulse until the potatoes and onions are finely minced. Add 1 rounded tablespoon of minced garlic and 2 eggs and pulse again. Add half the matzo meal in a circular motion covering the top of the mixture and pulse once more. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and start a second batch using the same steps 1 through 5. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. When oil is hot (just before it smokes) ladle 1/3 cup sized portions into the oil and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Once the bottom side is brown use a fork (yes, a fork!) to gently flip over the latke. (Grampa Stephen says that using a fork minimizes splashing and keeps the other latkes in the pan undisturbed.) When both sides are golden brown, lift the latkes from the pan with a slotted spatula and place on a paper towel to drain. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Add more oil if necessary. When ready to eat, sprinkle the top of each latke with coarse kosher salt (to taste) and serve with a dollop of apple sauce. Makes 12 to 15 latkes.

We loved this recipe so much that we submitted it to the Food52 contest [1]. Fingers crossed!

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[1] Food52 contest: http://www.food52.com/recipes/7922_grampa_stephens_latkes

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