Like everyone, I cycle through recipes. I try a lot of new ones for my job at The New York Times, and I shuffle through a pile I keep as inspiration for other writing projects. Some I try only once. Others, I come back to again and again, until I get it right or get bored or both. Then there are the recipes that I always use. They are family recipes or dishes that were so good -- or so easy and so good -- that they became part of the rotation at my house. Here are some of those constants, including recipes from Spoon Fed.
These are from one of my favorite editors, Miriam Morgan of the San Francisco Chronicle. She says they are the only way to make sure you are not frying latkes all night. You can cook them until deep golden brown and serve the right away if you don’t want to do the make-ahead step.
I like them with applesauce and sour cream.
3 or 4 large baking potatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup finely grated onion
3 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 to 4 tablespoons matzo meal or flour plus matzo meal or flour as needed
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Grate the potatoes (half finely and half medium-fine) into a large mixing bowl. You should have about 4 cups grated potatoes. Cover them with water and let soak for at least 15 minutes (or up to 1 hour) to remove the excess starch. Rinse the potatoes and drain well, squeezing them with your hands to remove excess moisture.
2. Combine the grated potatoes in a mixing bowl with the onion, beaten eggs, salt, pepper, baking powder and 2 tablespoons matzo meal. Stir well. Add more matzo meal if too much liquid accumulates in the bottom of the bowl.
3. Pour the oil into a large frying pan to a depth of 1/8 to 1/2 inch, and heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, gently drop the potato batter by the large spoonful into the hot oil, pressing down on them lightly with the back of the spoon to form thin pancakes about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, keeping the latkes about an inch apart. Fry the latkes until they are light golden on one side, then turn and cook them until light golden on the other. Remove them to a paper towel-lined platter to drain, blotting off excess oil as they cool.
4. Repeat until all the batter is used up, adding a bit more matzo meal or flour to the mixture as more liquid starts to collect in the bowl, and squeezing out the extra liquid. Skim the surface of the oil to remove any floating potato bits, which can burn and give the oil an off-flavor. Discard the oil and use fresh oil as needed.
5. When the latkes are cooked and cooled, transfer them in a single layer to baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the freezer and freeze until the latkes are hard. Transfer the frozen latkes to freezer storage bags. They can be kept frozen for up to 2 weeks.
6. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425. Arrange the frozen latkes on baking sheets, in a single layer without crowding. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning once, until deep golden brown. Drain briefly on a paper towel-lined platter. Serve hot.