Latkes, Frying Pans & Latke Shapers
Please set aside (for now) the advice that frying is bad for your health. It is Hanukkah and EVERYONE (almost) prepares fried potato latkes.
Expert directions for making delectable, crispy, potato latkes, suggestions for selecting the perfect fry pan, and a spotlight on our favorite new latke accessory — the fun Latke Shaper!
For all of this information, we contacted The Peppermill, a popular Brooklyn kitchenware store that specializes in premium cookware, bakeware, culinary tools, kitchen gadgets, kosher gourmet food products and specialty baking ingredients. Since its opening in 1997 The Peppermill has been touted as the Kosher Williams-Sonoma.
Ms. Chayala Braver, cookbook author, columnist and manager of The Peppermill, shared great tips and advice with KosherEye: "The best latkes are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside", said Chayala. "It doesn't matter if you hand-grate the potatoes or use a food processor. Latkes should not be soggy and the secret to attaining that result is to remove as much liquid as possible from the latke mixture.” The Peppermill trick for removing the liquid — a simple kitchen dish towel! Just place the mixture in the center of the towel, fold the towel lengthwise and twist the ends as tightly as possible to remove the liquid. (Yes, we will add that goodie to KosherEye's Kitchen Secrets & Tips.)
If your latkes turn out too greasy, this bit of advice may help:
The oil is probably not hot enough - temperature should be 375 degrees. Allow it to come back up to the proper temperature between batches of latkes and also try frying only a few at a time.
Don’t crowd your pan. Adding too many latkes to the pan at once will lower the temperature of the oil. The oil may not get hot again fast enough and the latkes will start absorbing lots of oil.
The Peppermill shared one of their favorite classic latke recipes, The Crispiest Potato Latkes Ever. They also suggest a unique recipe, which appears in a past Hanukah newsletter, Cheese & Potato Croquettes.
Now for Chayala's suggestions on frying pans to produce The Crispiest Potato Latkes Ever! "The best pans are undoubtedly heavy weight stainless steel. If you’re looking for the best, nothing beats a clad fry pan. This means that the entire pan has a core of aluminum that maintains the heat so the oil remains at the optimal frying temperature. The key is to have the oil reach 375 degrees before you start frying the latkes. Proper oil temperature keeps them from sticking to the pan.”
Final tip — it is important to be sure the pan is very hot before you begin. Once the batter is in the pan, lower the heat a bit to keep the latkes from burning.