My kitchen was a disaster. Potato bits coated the floor, forest-green sprinkles of dill and drops of oil were everywhere and a handful of bloody potatoes sat in the corner — It was my first time making latkes (and I cut my finger).
After reading dozens of recipes, I decided to experiment on my own (hence the kitchen disaster). I left out flour because I wanted to make it gluten-free, and then cooked batches of latkes in three different types of pans, varying amounts of oil, heat, and even dipping the potato mixture in beaten eggs before frying (delicious, but it looked kind of like an omelette).
Even though my first batch ended up as hash browns, I eventually realized that a lot of oil, moderate heat and patience were key for good latkes. (But I'd still love any advice from experienced latke makers on how to improve.)
- 2 pounds of baking potatoes, preferably russett, scrubbed clean
- 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, beaten gently
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Pinch of cayenne, or more, to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill, plus more for garnish
- Salt, to taste
- Olive oil, for frying
Using a box grater (or a food processor)*, coarsely grate the potatoes over a bowl (you can peel the skins of you like). Add the onions, then place the potato-mixture in a large dish towel and use the jelly-roll technique to wring out an extra moisture. (You may need to use more than one towel and work in batches). Then place the potato-onion mixture in the same bowl, wiping clean any residue in the bowl.
Then add the eggs, lemon juice, zest, cayenne, dill, and generously salt the mixture; combine well.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a very generous amount of oil. When hot (but not smoking), lower the heat to medium, and, working in batches, add large spoonfuls of the potato mixture, gently using the back of a spoon or fork to flatten. Cook the potato pancakes for about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden and crispy. When done, lay on paper towels to drain.
To serve, garnish with dill and applesauce and/or sour cream on the side.
*Note: I didn't have a grater or food processor, so I used a mandolin to thinly slice the potatoes then chopped them up very finely.