A few years ago, I was asked to make Latkes. I’m from Louisiana, I said. What do I know from making Latkes, I asked. Bupkis, that’s what, I said.
So I turned to the web and found a recipe on NYCnosh called “Possibly the Best Latkes We Have Ever Eaten (Sorry, Bubbe).” I figured if they were apologizing to Bubbe, these things had to be good. So I went with one of the more labor intensive cooking projects I’ve ever done. It also deviates from traditional Latke recipes to the point that NYCnosh felt the need to have an entire explanation about why you should sit down, shut up and just eat them before judging. The deviation? Mashed potatoes. Yes! Mashed. (The mission was to create a Latke that tasted just like the ones you get in Jewish delis and restaurants.)
Was it worth it? Let me put it this way. One of my Jewish friends is having a Hanukkah party Sunday night and guess what recipe she’s using.
Sadly, if you click on the link above, you’ll see that something has gone horribly wrong with NYCnosh. Perhaps the Grinch came around and stole everything. But we’re all in luck as I wrote the recipe down in a note book. Pen, paper, the whole nine yards. I will now share it with you. And if NYCnosh sees this and would like me to take it down, please let me know. I’m not in the habit of copyright infringement, but people NEED this recipe.
NYCnosh’s Lovely Latkes (makes about 10)
2 3/4 pounds potatoes
2 eggs, well beaten
1.5 tablespoons matzoh meal or flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Peel, cut half of your potatoes into one inch chunks. Boil for about 20 minutes. Drain and mash well. Sprinkle matzoh (or flour) on top of mashed potatoes
In large bowl, grate onion, then potatoes. Mix in potatoes to prevent discoloration.
Squeeze as much liquid out of grated vegetables as humanly possible. Best to do this in cheesecloth. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. SQUEEZE UNTIL YOUR HANDS HURT! (And they will). MOISTURE IS YOUR ENEMY.
Place in large dry bowl. Add egg, pepper, salt. Add mashed potatoes and mix thoroughly.
Form into palm-sized patties about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch high.
Fry patties in 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of VEGETABLE oil at between 250 to 300 degrees. (You are not deep frying these.)
Cook for five minutes (at least) on first side. Flip. Cook on other side for two to three minutes. Or until golden brown. Mmmmmmm. Golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
EAT! Serve with sour cream, apple sauce or, if you’re like me, just eat them by hand right off the damn paper towels. I made these in Louisiana last year. My stepdad approved, though he said they could benefit from a little green onion. He may have been right.