One day last August my ever-so-lovely partner Adam came home from a photo shoot for the launch of a new magazine. Upon asking how his long day was spent high atop the Hollywood Hills in a gorgeous airy modern home which was the location for the magazine spread, he proudly proclaimed, somewhat exhausted, that he was now the new Latke King.
I really didn’t know what he meant by that, but my mind reeled and raced with images of small brightly lit fast food establishments that offered only fried potato pancakes with various dipping sauces. In my perverted mind they’d be open 24 hours, have drive-thrus, and come with plastic gloves to keep your steering wheel grease-free as you drove around town eating them.
Oh come on––you know it’d be fantastic, it really would. But sadly that’s not what he meant.
"I can now make a mean latke. I made 80 today alone. Eighty."
As it turns out, Adam was food styling for a feature called "Chanukah L.A. Style" and the latke duties were delegated to him by the lead stylist. Eighty crispy, salty, delicious latkes for a photo shoot and I wasn’t around? Hollywood is a cruel town, I tell you.
Yesterday after reading about latkes over at Deb’s place and knowing Chanukah began today, I used every bit of persuasion I could muster to get my Latke Maker to indulge me by re-enacting his on-the-job skills.
"Oh come on, where’s your sense of spirit? It’s Chanukah!" I enthusiastically proclaimed.
"Matt, I hate to tell you this, but you’re neither Jewish nor have we once celebrated the Holiday" he snapped back.
"Well, um, your point? That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the holy Temple and the battle and menorahs and oil and light!" I responded.
"We can talk about it all you want to. But what you’re really asking me to do is get in the kitchen and make Latkes for you for dinner," he answered.
Suddenly a smile swept across my face and when I got home the scent of oil filled the kitchen and a stack of warm, savory latkes were waiting for me.
Never have they tasted so good.
Potato Latkes from Martha Stewart
I‘m using my pal Martha’s recipe since she was kind enough to share some linklove with me on her very own personal blog. I think that means I can use "my pal Martha" repeatedly––we be tight, as they say. Haha I’m so funny. Don’t sue me, Ms. Stewart. Anyway, there are so many recipes out there but when it comes down to it I prefer a simple potato pancake and besides, I was afraid Adam was going to smack me with a frying pan if I asked for both traditional and something zany like Curried Sweet Potato Latkes from you-know-who. We enjoyed ours with plenty of sour cream and apple butter. Serves 4.
2 (about 1 1/4 pounds) all-purpose or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 medium white onion, finely grated
8 scallion greens, finely slivered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Over a large bowl of cold water, grate potatoes into long strips, using the largest holes of a box grater. Transfer grated potatoes from water into another bowl. Pour off water from first bowl, reserving sediment. Add sediment to potatoes.
2. Add eggs, onion, and scallion greens. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well by hand.
3. Fill a large heavy-bottomed frying pan with 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch of oil until very hot, about 385 degrees.
4. Drop 1 heaping tablespoonful of potato mixture into the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes; the pan should hold five or six latkes per batch. Turn latkes over, and cook on the other side until golden brown, about another 3 minutes.
5. Latkes can be transferred to a baking sheet and kept warm in a 200 degree oven for up to a half hour before serving.