Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. In our home, it is our tradition that I make a big dinner on the first night, and this includes latkes. I have several versions of my latkes; sometimes I throw all the ingredients into the Cuisinart (when making for a huge crowd), sometimes I sneak in some grated zucchini or carrot to the already grated potato, but how we like them best is the way my Grandma Rose made them. She grated everything by hand, squeezed out the water and fried them up in a pan. And that is how I will make them for tonight’s dinner.
I have some of my grandma’s original cooking utensils and I have to admit, they are my most coveted kitchen gear. Sure, I love my 14-cup capacity Cuisinart and I couldn’t live without my kitchen aid mixer, but it is her double blade chopper, her grader, her cookie press, and her memories that I cherish the most.
Latkes are one of those 5 ingredient recipes – my kind of dish. Serve them with a little unsweetened, organic applesauce on the side and for me, this is pretty much the perfect meal.
Grandma Rose’s Potato Latkes
yield: 12 pancakes
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. matzo meal
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
safflower or canola oil
• pour oil in a large, heavy skillet and on medium heat until hot, but not smoking. I don’t use a ton of oil. just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
• in a bowl, add egg, matzo meal, a pinch of salt and 10 grindings of pepper. add minced onion and stir to combine. I use my grandma’s flat grader to finely grate the onion, but one can do this by hand.
or throw the onions in the workbowl of your cuisinart, using the metal blade, pulse about 14 times.
• peel and wash potatoes. grate potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. squeeze as much water out of the potatoes as possible and add to the onion mixture. or, using your Cuisinart, grate 1 1/2 of the potaotes and pulse the other 1/2 of pototo with the onions. add the potatoes to the egg/onion mixture.
• working in small batches, spoon mixture into hot oil and fry them without moving them until slight golden brown around the edges, about 3-4 minutes. flip and repeat on the other side.
• when done, remove pancakes from the pan and drain on paper towels set over a wire rack.
• serve warm with applesauce and sour cream.