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Dec 21, 2011 07:52 AM

Best potato for latkes?

While we're on the topic, what variety works best?

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    1. My preference is red-skinned potatoes, shredded. Skin on.

      1. Plain old Idaho potatoes, no skin, rinsed and squeezed dry.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cheesecake17

          Odd. I think of Maine potatoes as "plain old" and Idahos as baking potatoes.

          1. re: AdinaA

            I think the species is more relevant than the location of harvest though most Idahos are russets.

        2. russets, scrubbed but not peeled.

          4 Replies
          1. re: magiesmom

            Second vote for russets, scrubbed but not peeled. I also par-boil the potatoes ahead of time, a la Mollie Katzen in Still Life with Menu. I prepared 5 lbs of potatoes on Monday night, as well as chopped 4 large onions. Now it is just a matter of mixing up a bowl of batter & frying each night. 2 down, 6 to go! Please pass the applesauce.

            1. re: p.j.

              If you prepare the potatoes in days in advance how do you keep them from going black?

              1. re: lukfam

                If it's just peeled potatoes, put them covered in water, in the fridge
                If they're already grated, I'm afraid you're out of luck against mother time, unless you want to add something acidic (like vinegar)...I've never tried vinegar in latkes, and they may taste great, but I have no idea

              2. re: p.j.

                Whoops. Sorry everyone: I've been away from the Boards since my post above, and didn't realize I'd caused confusion. As I said above, I par-boil the potatoes after grating with the large hole grater on my food processor. It's basically like cooking spaghetti. Put the grated potatoes in a big pot full of boiling water, let it come back to a boil, cook for 5 minutes, and drain. They keep for 5-6 days in the fridge. I chop the onions in the food processor, and store them separately. Sorry if my post was vague. One big mess ahead of time.

            2. I use ordinary, all-purpose white potatoes. In the northeast, a sack of all-purpose whites, usually from Maine is usually the cheapest purchase. And they work really well for latkes. Even the Washington State potato board admits it.

              In recent years, I have leaned toward the thin-skinned red potatoes. Slightly more expensive, but I have grown lazy and extravagant and am attracted by the fact that they need only a light scrubbing, not peeling.

              I admit that Russets work, too. But this is one area where the cheapest potato is the right potato. Not to mention that it is certainly what Bubbie used.

              Speaking of which the Yeshiva Boys Choir has an upbeat take on latkes in this year's video.

              And, speaking of music to fry latkes by, the other 2011 Hanukkah song that delighted me was this

              1 Reply
              1. re: AdinaA

                Potatoes are obviously a starchy food, and the difference in varieties are basically different amounts of starch...Russets are known as starchy, while red potatoes are known as waxy potatoes, and Yukon gold's are somewhere in between. Depending on what you're trying to make, depends on what variety of potato to use. Cheaper or the region it's from isn't necessarily an indication of what variety the potato is...
                Most likely the ones from Maine are the classical Russet potato, which are also grown in Idaho, and also my preference for latkes...although I peel them , grate, and I don't drain the "water" out like many people do. and then add spices, eggs, as if i was making a potato kugel, and fry them by the spoonfull...