Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
Potato Pancakes are a very popular food in some regions of Germany. I remember stepping outside of the main railway station in Cologne only to face a large kiosk in the center of the square where one could purchase freshly made potato pancakes. One could smell their aroma from a mile away and just thinking about it makes me salivate...
In the U.S., Potato Pancakes are often associated with Hanukkah but they are quite wide-spread among several regions of Europe – from Austria to Luxemburg, from the Czech Republic to Latvia, from Hungary to Poland to Germany. Potato Pancakes are popular in the Ukraine, in Belarus (where they are the national dish), in parts of Russia, and even in Iran.
As such, potato pancakes are truly an international dish.
Making them is quite simple and very fast, drawing on just a few staple ingredients and requiring not specialized grocery shopping. Consequently, they have a tendency to appeal to kids – especially when paired with sweet apple sauce.
2 lbs. Potatoes.
2 small (or one large) Onion.
1 tsp. Salt.
2 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour.
Canola Oil for frying.
Let's get started:
Peel the potatoes and onions.
Finely grate both into a work bowl. (I simply use the fine grating disk on my food processor and I am done in just a few seconds).
Squeeze excess liquid out of the potato/onion mixture or place in a strainer to let drain.
Add eggs, salt, and flour.
Mix well until all ingredients are well integrated.
Pour about four Tbs. Oil into a non-stick pan and heat over medium-high heat.
With a large serving spoon or a ladle, transfer some of the potato mixture into the hot pan. I generally manage to fry about three at the same time, but I have seen people fill the entire pan with just one pancake while others prefer much smaller pancakes, resulting in about five pancakes per pan. It's really just up to you.
Use a spatula to flatten the pancakes.
Fry until golden brown and then flip over to brown the other side as well.
Remove pancakes from pan, let excess oil drip off or briefly place pancakes on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Serve immediately – preferably with apple sauce!
If you prefer a heartier pancakes, you can add anything from diced ham to cheese to herbs. Some people also like to add grated zucchini or grated carrots to the potato mixture....