Latkes, those salty/crunchy/smooth potato pancakes fried in oil, are a Chanukah
staple. But to stand and fry them just 2 or 3 at once means time spent away from
the holiday table. Thus these oven-fried latkes. Just flood a couple of rimmed cookie
sheets with a thin layer of oil, deposit potato pancake batter, and bake for about
30 minutes, turning once. The result? Signature crunchy-smooth latkes, and more
time spent with your family.
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, about 3 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease two large cookie sheets
with rims; we use 18" x 13" half-sheet pans.
Grate or shred the potatoes fine, or medium-fine; no need to peel them first,
though they should be washed. Some folks like smoother latkes (more finely grated),
some crunchier (more coarsely grated). We like to use the fine shredding attachment
on our test kitchen Cuisinart.
Wrap the grated potatoes in a cotton dish towel (a flour sack towel works
well), and twist the towel closed at the top. Bring the potatoes to the sink
and squeeze them for all you're worth, wringing as much liquid as possible
Shred or grate the onion finely. Don't use the finest shredding disk
of your food processor, as it will turn the onion to mush; the medium shredding
disk is preferable.
Combine the drained potatoes, onion, egg, salt, and flour in a bowl, stirring
till everything is thoroughly mixed.
Pour a thin layer of vegetable oil into each baking pan. It should be deep
enough that when you tilt the pan, you can see it move; 1/8" to 3/16"
is about right. We love peanut oil for frying, or plain vegetable oil. Beware
of canola oil; some folks feel it gives food an off flavor when used for frying.
For easier-to-clean pans, and slightly less greasy latkes, heat the pans
in the oven briefly, to warm the oil. You can skip this step if dealing with
a pan of hot oil makes you nervous. Drop the pancake batter onto the sheets
by the 1/4- to 1/3-cupful. Space them far enough apart that you can easily get
a spatula between them to flip them over, when the time comes.
Bake the pancakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden
brown. Remove the pans from the oven, turn them over, and bake for an additional
10 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom.
Remove from the oven, and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately, with
applesauce and sour cream, if desired.
Hands-on time: 10 to 20 min | Baking time: 30to 35 mins | Yield: 18 latkes