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Monday, December 3, 2012

Big Al Frank's Famous Potato Latkes (with some new tips)

As promised, I am reposting this in time for Chanukah.  This time I've added some new tips, including one from my sister Meryl that I haven't tried, but she says it's great, so take a look!

Frying Latkes in Dad's Skillet
Al Frank's Potato Latkes
Nobody makes Potato Latkes (pancakes) like my dad did.  Even when we copy his recipe it is never exact, but it is pretty close.  He passed this recipe on to me and to my son, and then to my nephews who became our next generation of Potato Latkes champions. 

This recipe is for 10 people, depending on what you're serving with them.  The yams are a variation from Al’s recipe, I added them.  He included them occasionally, but the rest of the recipe is his all the way.

I added a few hints to improve this recipe - things I've learned trying to get these better each time:



Super Crispy Outside, Soft Inside

1. You can use the 'double fry' secret, which is to fry the latkes 3/4 of the way earlier in the day, and right before serving, complete the fry.  They'll be super crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, just as they should be.  If you put them in the oven to reheat, even at a low temperature, you lose lots of the crispiness. You won't be sorry.

2. When shredding the potatoes, put them in a big colander over a bowl and put cheese cloth in the colander.  Potatoes are wet and you've got to get the moisture out.  Putting the shredded potatoes in a colander will allow them to drain, then you can squeeze them using the cheese cloth to rid of more moisture.  Potatoes must be dry to form the latkes.

3. Meryl's tip for cooking and freezing latkes ahead of time, and keeping them crispy. 
Cook the latkes as you normally would. When the are cool freeze them uncovered on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Once frozen, put them in a freezer bag.  When you are going to use them, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put the latkes in a single layer on a rack in the oven.  DO NOT put them on a pan or cookiesheet or they'll get soggy.

Note: (added later) - At Meryl's Chanukah party this year, she did tip #3 (above) for freezing the latkes and then putting them on a rack in the oven - it works! They were delicious!
 



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