Tonight is the fourth night of Hanukkah, and I feel a little late in getting this up on line, But the Festival of Lights lasts 8 days soooo, I’m still right on time.
Hanukkah is one Jewish holiday where I feel right at home food-wise, since I grew up eating latkes. They were and are a standard in my family’s kitchen. My Mother Elena is the master for them in the family. We were so anxious to eat them, I don’t think we even waited to all sit down at the table together – we just sat down and grabbed them from the spatula as Mom was laying them onto paper towels to drain!
My Mom grated her potatoes and onions by hand using the small holes of the grater and drained the liquid. This was a wonderfully delicious pancake.
The potato pancakes I make now are the same ones I grew up with. The trick is to drain the potatoes and onions well after your grate them. Eggs hold the potatoes together and coarse matzo meal fills in the spaces without the heaviness of flour. Cook the latkes in a heavy bottom fry pan – don’t overload the pan. If you do it right, what you end up with is sort of a latke nest, with lots of crevices of crispiness on the outside and a few wonderful soft pockets of old time potato pancake in the middle.
Sour cream and homemade applesauce are the only other things you need!!!
POTATO LATKE RECIPE
Yields about 20 latkes
2 lb. russet potatoes, grated
1 medium onion, grated (about 1 cup)
2 large egg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup matzo meal
Pure olive oil or vegetable for frying
Peel potatoes and onion then shred with a box grater as my Mom always does. Place potato shreds in strainer over a bowl and Drain, then place in a clean kitchen towel, roll up, and twist forcefully to press juices out. Set potato shreds aside.
Combine potato shreds, eggs, onion puree, salt, and matzo meal — mix thoroughly.
In large skillet, heat 1/2 cup oil to 375-degrees. By heaping tablespoons, spoon batter into hot oil and press slightly into latke shape. Do not crowd the pan, as doing so will detrimentally lower the oil temperature — fry about five or six latkes at a time, depending on pan size. Cook five minutes, until brown on bottom, them flip and cook five minutes more. Place on paper towels to drain.
If you are multiplying this recipe, add more olive oil as necessary and be sure to maintain proper oil temperature.
If eating immediately AS YOU SHOULD, place drained latkes in a warm (250-degree) oven until ready to eat.