These are not potato latkes. My friend Maxine will be delivering her Hanukkah potato latkes to me soon. I can hardly wait. And they are not the potato pancakes my Mother used to make. My Mother would stand at the stove frying batch after batch of crispy potato pancakes which we would devour with syrup or applesauce. These hash browns have an advantage. They are cooked in the oven and they are absolutely delicious. I was skeptical of the method of cooking but they turn out crispy and flavorful. We had them for dinner last night with a pork roast and I have to say, it was an excellent meal; one in which you make noises of pleasure.
The potato cakes are larger than potato pancakes so normally one cake per person would be enough. The directions say that the recipe can easily be doubled and can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed. I was planning on saving two to see how well they did the second time around, but we ate them all. If you double the recipe you will need a lot of space in the oven because you will need two large sheet pans. This recipe was featured in Bon Appetit with the Torta Rustica so it would be good for your Christmas brunch. And even better if you can do them ahead of time.
OVEN ROASTED HASH BROWN CAKES
1 1/2 cups paper thin onion slices
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and grated ( Do not substitute any other potato)
1 tsp salt, divided
2 Tbls unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. ( I think 400 degrees F would be better). Butter large rimmed nonstick baking sheet. Place onion in large bowl. Toss potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Using hands, squeeze out excess liquid from potaotoes. Add potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and melted butter to onion. Toss to coat.
Divide mixture into 4 mounds on prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Roast 15 minutes, then turn mounds over with spatula, pressing down to flatten to 4-inch-diameter rounds (cakes will still be soft). Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, bake until cakes are golden and crisp around edges, about 45 minutes longer.
You could also make these smaller, dice the onion, and serve them as an appetizer topped with sour cream and smoked salmon. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.