Winner of the Fifth Annual James Beard Latke Cookoff People’s Choice Award
Consider yourself forewarned: this recipe comes from a 15-year-old self-taught cook with an attention span of about four minutes (unless he’s in a pool hall) who learned all he knows about the culinary arts from the TV Food Network. That said, he’s an award-winning chef—his latkes nabbed the People’s Choice Award in our Fifth Annual Latke Cookoff. At a latke run-through the day before the event, Nick Schulman kept slinking off to the living room to watch TV. But at the House the following day, Nick was all business. The first time Nick made latkes for the family, he threw in some cayenne pepper and garlic powder that he happened across in the pantry, and the original recipe stuck. The effect of the spices was surprisingly subtle—maybe because they had been sitting in the cupboard for about 10 years—but they added just enough flavor to win top honors. You can grate the potatoes and onions by hand, but Nick much prefers the food processor.
- 3 potatoes, peeled
- 1 large onion
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 heaping tablespoon flour, more if necessary
- Vegetable oil for frying
Using the medium shredding disk of the food processor, grate the potatoes. Place the grated potatoes on a clean dish towel. Wrap the potatoes in the towel and wring out all of the excess water you can, then place the potatoes in a bowl.
Using the food processor blade, purée the onion until it is mushy, but not liquid.
Drain any water that has accumulated on the bottom of the bowl holding the potatoes, then add the onions, eggs, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and enough flour to absorb the excess moisture in the batter, but no more.
Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add about 1/8 of an inch of oil and heat until very hot. Using a soup spoon, place four dollops of batter in the pan. Let the latkes cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, without touching them more than necessary so they don’t stick, then flip and let cook for about 8 minutes more. The latkes should be golden to medium brown, and very crisp.
Serve with applesauce and sour cream. (If you want to use mango salsa and sesame crème fraîche instead, it’s your business.)
12 silver-dollar-size latkes