A Holiday Recipe
Big Breakfast Latkes
Just about everyone who makes breakfast has a version of breakfast potatoes, be they hash browns or home fries or skillet-smashed potatoes. And just about all cooks make them their very own way—the way they think potatoes should be—and though they may tolerate other breakfast–potato formats, they secretly always think that their personal method, the one they learned from their mama/that diner on Main Street/their friend the chef is the best.
Personally, I just want to eat latkes all year round, and I maintain that if you're limiting your latke consumption to the eight nights of Hanukkah, you are missing out. The latke, at its base, is the ideal breakfast potato—humble russets and everyday onions, shredded, mixed with the slimmest amounts of egg and flour, and fried until brown and crisp on both sides. Latkes hold together better than hash browns, which allows you to make them bigger. And the bigger they are, the more ideal base they become for the other perfect breakfast, a fried egg.
Yield: Four large (5-inch) latkes
1 large baking potato (1 pound or 455 grams), peeled 1 small onion (1/4 pound or 115 grams), peeled 1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon table salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 large egg, lightly beaten Vegetable or olive oil, for frying Fried eggs, to serve (optional)
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and keep in oven until needed.
In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer, moplike strands, I prefer to lay the potato sideways in the chute of the food processor. Transfer the shredded mixture to a square of cheesecloth or lint-free dishtowel, and gather the ends to wring out as much water as possible. Let it stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze it out again.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and egg together. Stir in the potato-onion mixture until all the pieces are evenly coated.
In a small, heavy skillet (cast-iron, if you have one), heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until it shimmers. Drop one-quarter of the potato mixture into the skillet, and flatten with the back of a spoon to a 5-inch round. Cook the latke over moderate heat until the edges are golden, about 4 to 5 minutes; flip, and cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes more.
Transfer latke to the prepared baking sheet in the oven. Repeat process with remaining latke batter in three batches, creating a total of four large latkes, being sure to add more oil as needed and letting it fully reheat between pancakes. Keep latkes warm in oven until needed. Serve latkes warm in four wedges with eggs or whole with a fried egg atop each.
Do Ahead: Latkes are a do-aheader's dream. You can also keep the latkes warm in the oven, on low heat, for an hour or more, if you're waiting for stragglers to arrive. If already cooked, they keep well in the fridge for a day or two, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 2 weeks. Reheat the latkes in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 300-degree oven until they're crisp again. Bonus: If you undercooked them a bit, or didn't get them as brown as you'd hoped, you can compensate for this in the oven.
Cooking Note: For neat edges and a thinner rostilike appearance, you can press each pancake into a 6-inch skillet and proceed to cook according to directions. For lacy, craggyedged latkes, form the pancakes in a larger pan.