The Mensch Chef Mitchell Davis
by Mitchell Davis
Grated Potato Latkes

This is not how my mother made her latkes (which were delicious, by the way), and I used to think the grated potato latke was limp and bland. But that was before I tried Steve Gold's latkes. Steve is the proprietor of Murray's Chickens, and I watched him take top honors with this recipe at the James Beard Foundation's Third Annual Latke Lovers' Cook-Off.

Although some Jewish grandmothers will attest that a scraped knuckle or two makes the finished product more authentic, Steve chooses to make his latkes in the food processor rather than by hand (like my mother). He leaves the skin on the potatoes and adds a drop of self-rising flour to make a light, potato-y latke that I think is delicious. (Don't skimp on the salt, which helps bring out the flavor.) The batter is easy to work with and the latkes fry up quickly, which makes this recipe better than the shredded version when cooking for a crowd.

Yield: Makes 18 to 24 latkes, depending on size


  • 2 large russet potatoes (1 pound), unpeeled, washed well, and cut into quarters
  • 1 medium onion (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 large egg with 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons self-rising cake flour or 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil for frying

Using a food processor fitted with a coarse shredding disk, shred the potatoes and the onion. The potatoes should come out in long strands, while the onions will turn to mush. Transfer to a clean bowl. Fit the food processor with the metal chopping blade and return the shredded potatoes and onions to the bowl. Pulse on and off 4 or 5 times until the potatoes are finely chopped. Add the egg and pulse just until combined. Working quickly, so as not to let the potatoes oxidize and turn brown, transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the flour and salt. Mix together until the flour disappears.

Set a medium cast-iron or other heavy-bottom sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pour in about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot (test it by placing a drop or two of batter into the pan to see if it sizzles), use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into the hot pan. Flatten and shape immediately with the back of the spoon. When the edges of the latke are brown and crisp, flip. Cook until the second side is browned, remove from the pan, and drain on paper towels. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.

A Bissel Advice

How far in advance can I make these latkes? As with any pancake, they are best right out of the pan. But because this mixture is more like a batter than a heap of shredded potatoes, you can actually keep it about an hour before you intend to fry them up. Once cooked, if you must, the latkes can be reheated in a 300°F. oven.

The Whole Meshpucha

Because this mixture pours easily and is a pleasure to work with, I like to use it if I have a whole lot of latkes to make. Increase all of the ingredients proportionately.

Kosher Status


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