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Potato latkes

(Food Styling/Lisa Falso; Photo/Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe)
December 9, 2009

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Makes 15 (3-inch) latkes

If you’ve ever had a latke lovingly prepared by your mother, grandmother, or any other relative, it may have tasted delicious but chances are it was a ghoulishly gray color. Potatoes begin to turn a grayish brown minutes after peeling. But keep your latkes pure ivory by working them with the onions. Most latkes share a strikingly similar list of ingredients: potatoes, onions, matzo meal, eggs, and salt. This recipe is no different. But here, we use a food processor instead of a box grater to grind the potatoes and onions together. The sulfur from the onions coats the potatoes and prevents them from going gray. Even after draining for 15 minutes, the potatoes stay bright. They’re a feast for the eyes as well as the belly.

LATKES

3 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
7 medium russet (baking) potatoes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil (for shallow frying)
1. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl.

2. Divide the onions between 2 bowls. Peel half the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Add the potatoes to one bowl of onions and toss well.

3. Working quickly, in a food processor, work the potatoes and onions until coarsely ground and the mixture resembles chunky applesauce. Transfer the mixture to the strainer. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and onions; add to the strainer.

4. Set the potato mixture aside for 15 minutes.

5. Set the oven at 300 degrees. Place a large baking sheet in the oven.

6. When the potatoes have drained - they will release about 1 1/2 cups liquid - discard the liquid. Transfer the potato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, matzo meal, salt, and pepper.

7. In a large skillet, heat enough vegetable oil over medium-high heat to make a 1/8-inch layer. When the surface shimmers, use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to transfer 5 scoops of batter to the skillet. Gently press them with the back of a spatula so they’re 1/2-inch thick. Cook without disturbing for 4 minutes or until the bottoms are nicely browned.

8. Turn and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes or until the bottoms are nicely brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Then set them on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Serve with applesauce. Keri Fisher

APPLESAUCE

8 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
Juice of 1 lemon
1. In a large saucepan, combine the apples, sugar, water, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until the apples are softened. If the pan seems dry, add more water, a few tablespoons at a time. Taste for seasoning and add more sugar, if you like. Discard the cinnamon stick.

2. Using a potato masher, mash the apples until smooth. Serve at room temperature. Keri Fisher