These are crispy and tender and salty and delicious. A pinch of baking soda keeps the potatoes from turning their creepy blue-grey color; whirring the batter in the blender makes it smooth enough to spread thin and cook through quickly; small pancakes maximize crisp edges. There are never enough.
Yields 4 servings, or 8 appetizers
Grate the potatoes and onion: I do this with the grating disk of my food processor, but it's fine to do it on the large holes of a hand-held grater.
Stir in the eggs, flour, baking soda, and salt, then pulse the mixture briefly in the food processor, now fitted with the steel blade. If you didn't use the food processor to begin with, then your potatoes were probably more mushily grated (in a good way), and you can skip this step -- or else whir the mixture briefly in a blender.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, then drop in heaping teaspoons of the batter and flatten them a bit with the back of the spoon. Fry the latkes until they're nicely browned, then flip them and fry another 2 minutes until the undersides are browned too.
Drain them on a paper-towel-covered wire rack and, if absolutely necessary, keep them warm (sans paper towel) in a 250 oven until they're all fried. But it's really better just to take turns frying and eat them while they're fresh and hot. Fry the rest of the batter, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
Sprinkle the latkes with salt, and serve with sour cream and applesauce.