Susie Bright: The League of Amazing Latkes Q & A

200812290939 Is it too late for potato latkes? Can I have some more?

It's never too late for latkes. You can eat potato pancakes all year round!


Is there a perfect recipe?

Yes.

Potato pancakes inspire controversy because of family traditions... everyone longs for their childhood memory. My recipe may not bring your great-grandmother to life, but I dare say you'll look upon me as a favorite aunt.


It takes forever to grate all those potatoes and cry over the onions- I want to devour my latkes, pain-free, NOW!

Immediate gratification is all about using the right tools. Use a 7-cup Cuisinart with the "grater attachment" to cut up the pototoes and onions, presto!


My latkes always turn out limp and bland; what am I doing wrong?

The key to tasty latkes is to get the water out of the potatoes before you fry them in hot oil. But  potatoes don't like to give up their water.

The miracle answer to a labor-intensive problem is an old-fashioned potato ricer. Don't ask me what else you do with this thing: I only know it as a latke-enabler!

Put a handful of the sopping potato gratings in the ricer's mouth. Press the handles together, and all the water is expressed through the sieve side- in one second! You don't even have to use two hands. You leverage one arm of the ricer against the other by propping it over the sink-top and pressing down. You only do it once- there's no other effort required.


Any other must-have tools? 

Yes, a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is the most precise and uniform conductor of heat, and when you fire up your frying oil, you want that "almost smoking" level of hotness in your pan, unwavering. That's what gives you the satisfying crunch!


Can I use flour, or some other gluten instead of matzo meal for my binding agent?

No! The matzo gives the texture you crave.


Can I make a lower-calorie, lower-fat latke that tastes just as yummy?

The fiber content of potatoes are good for you. You could increase that with by combining other gratings of even higher-fiber candidates, like sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots- a different kick, but equally tasty. Remember, squeeze the water out of all of them!

There is no getting around the oil/butter/fry part, not if you want the "eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head" satisfaction. There is only one corner you can cut without detection: Use egg whites, lose the yolks- or at least cut down the yolks by half.

The secret to staying slim while you dance the latke fantastic is strategic fiber consciousness and portion control. Move away from the stove and serve yourself a couple of pancakes on a small plate with a huge helping of applesauce. Before you dig in, treat yourself to a fantastic butter lettuce salad with balsamic vinegar, or maybe a sweet tangerine. Afterward, turn up the Eartha Kitt really loud, to dance and sing your heart out!

(Susie Bright is a guest blogger)