My search for the perfect latke, began with the choice of potato. On a bright Tuesday morning, I headed out to my local vegetable market to select my potatoes. I chose one variety from each category and headed home to start the taste test.
What’s the difference between one potato and the next? The easiest way of grouping potatoes is by dividing them into three groups:
Potatoes such as Russet and Idahos are the best choice for fluffy French fries, roasted potatoes and creamy mashed potatoes. I also like them for good ol’ baked potatoes. While they soak up liquid and flavoring better than other varieties, they tend to loose their shape easily. They soak up liquid as they cook and eventually fall apart.
Yukon Golds, All purpose potatoes and yellow/golden potatoes are one of my favorites. While they share many traits with the high starch potatoes, they hold their shape better
Red-skinned, boiling or waxy potatoes and some potatoes labeled “new potatoes” hold their shape the best. If you’re looking to get nice size chunks in a soup, or a potato salad that doesn’t fall apart these potatoes are your best choice.
Once we’ve got our potatoes, it was time to move on to the rest of the ingredients.
If you like a bit of sweetness to your latkes, you can choose to use a sweet onion such as Vidalia. Eggs are easy. There are no choices. Some salt and pepper and we were set to begin. While some people like some flour to bind the latkes together, I prefer to keep it pure. Let the flavors shine on their own.
The kind of grater or food processor blade you use, does make a difference. If you like a a crispy latke, you should shred the potatoes. If you prefer a softer latke you can finely grate the potatoes.