I’ll start off by saying, I am not Jewish and I don’t even like making potatoes. But in honor of my friend, Mark Titelbaum–who does celebrate the Festival of Lights (which begins tonight!)–I unfroze my leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and whipped up my version of potato pancakes (aka latkes).
Mark might disagree, but I happen to like my version, because they are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Being a somewhat old-fashioned dude, Mark informed me that fresh potatoes are best. Only I didn’t have any fresh potatoes. Luckily I did freeze the mounds of leftover mashed potatoes I had from Thanksgiving.
My defrosted potatoes were prepared with butter, milk, a smidge of cream cheese and salt and pepper. If you want to duplicate my latke recipe, just reserve some leftover mashed potatoes in your freezer as I did. Otherwise I suppose you could use prepared mashed potatoes often found in the market this time of year. Or start from scratch.
Combine the previously mashed potatoes–whichever kind you have, of course–with some flour, and egg, salt and pepper and some browned, chopped onion and garlic. Your “batter” will look like egg salad and be fairly firm. So sort of like this:
Now I’m not going to give you measurements, because it sort of depends on the potatoes you start with. Drier mashed potatoes might need an extra egg. Looser potatoes might benefit from a bit more flour. So you’ll need to eye-ball it a bit.
You’re looking for a thick but gooey mixture that will hold be firm when you go to fry them up…see how these hold their shape?
I know…they still look like mounds of egg salad…but they won’t soon I promise!
In a large skillet, heat some olive oil and then spoon three (or four, if you can fit four) big globs of your mixture in. Flatten them slightly with a spatula.
When the bottom is browned and crispy, turn them over and brown the other side. If your skillet is hot, this will go pretty fast and you can expect something like this:
After you flip them, make sure to flatten them down so the inside is about maybe a 1/2 inch thick. We’re going for a browned, crispy latke with a warm, creamy center…much like the next photo here:
And all that’s left is serving! I enjoy my latkes with sour cream: