Toronto journalist, activist and author Michele Landsberg contributed her mother Lee’s recipe for latkes to the cookbook “share” to raise funds for FoodShare. She tells us “my mother was a dainty little beauty with a brilliant gift for light cooking. Her latkes are the world’s best and I am sharing them only because it is FoodShare!” They are lighter than usual because of the beaten egg whites. These are small mini-latkes; make them bigger if desired. They turn out more rounded than your average latke; feel free to shape them with your hands instead of a spoon for the more conventional version. Michele warns that “all specifics (peanut oil, russet potatoes) are there for a reason, and results cannot be guaranteed if there are substitutes.”
Peanut oil for frying
4 large baking (russet) potatoes, peeled and each cut in 8 pieces
2 medium onions, cut in chunks
2 eggs, separated
4 tsp potato flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
Place large colander in sink; line with clean tea towel (do not use terry cloth type).
Pour 1 inch (2.5 cm) peanut oil into deep frying pan or electric frying pan; start heating to 400F (200C). Place half of potato and onion chunks in blender; add enough cold water to cover, about 3 cups. Pulse mixture until vegetables are ground to size of rice grains. Pour into prepared colander; drain. Gather ends of tea towel into bundle and squeeze out all the water you can, being careful potato mush doesn’t squish out the top. Mixture should be crumbly and moist, not wet. Place in large bowl. Repeat with remaining potato and onion.
In small bowl, beat egg yolks lightly. Beat in potato flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir into potato mixture.
In another bowl and using electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using spatula, gently fold into potato mixture until well blended. Drop by rounded tablespoon into hot oil and lightly tap the top of each one with back of spoon to make it a bit flatter. Fry until crisp and golden around edges, then turn to fry other side, about 1½ minutes per side. Drain on paper towel-lined baking sheet. Do not overcrowd the pan. Between batches, scoop out and discard any brown floating scraps and make sure the oil returns to 400F (200C). Top up oil as needed to maintain 1 inch (2.5 cm).
Serve with applesauce and sour cream.
Makes about 6 servings.