What would a Hanukkah dinner be without latkes? Not right, that’s what.
Just to clarify, I am not Jewish and I didn’t grow up eating latkes. My introduction to these crispy potato pancakes came when I worked at The Bush School in Seattle several years ago. Rick Schwartz and I would fry up hundreds (maybe even thousands) of latkes for school lunch on the first day of Hanukkah. With so much Christmas in the air, it was always nice for the Jewish students and faculty to see what we’d come up with for our Hanukkah menu. Everybody loved the latkes and I went home smelling like a giant fried potato!
Since there were only three of us at the table last night, I seriously scaled back my recipe. But we still had lots of leftovers… so the recipe below is really not a three person recipe… I’d say it would easily serve 8 to 12. (NOTE: extra latkes store well in the fridge for a day or two and can also be frozen and reheated in the oven – so go ahead and make a bunch!)
Traditionally latkes are served with applesauce and sour cream. Marvin remembers eating them as a kid with sour cream and grape jelly. I took a different and more savory approach this year and served ours with smoked salmon, capers, and sour cream.
Here is my recipe, updated for 2011 with Yukon Gold Potatoes & fresh herbs.
- 4 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1 small onion
- ½ cup matzo meal
- 5 eggs
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- Salt and Pepper
- Wash the potatoes, but do not peel. Shred the potatoes into cold water. Let them sit in the water for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely dice the onion.
- Drain the potatoes and squeeze them to remove as much water as possible.
- Put them back in the bowl and stir in the onions and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt.
- Mix the matzo meal with the eggs and then pour the egg mixture over the potato mixture. Stir to combine.
- Heat about ¼" of canola oil in a large frying pan (preferably non-stick) over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, form potato cakes with your hands and gently set them in the pan (if you are nervous about the hot oil, use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to gently flatten into circles once the mixture is in the pan). Fry until golden brown on both sides.
- You can make the latkes ahead of time and reheat in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Serve with your choice of toppings. Suggestions: Sour cream & applesauce, smoked salmon, capers & onions.