An Italian boy's LATKES
Growing up Italian, a "Latke" is the most foreign thing I can think of during the holidays. However, growing up in New York, with many amazing Jewish friends & neighbors, I ate a few 100. Maybe 1,000 by now. Some more doughy and thicker than others, some heavy on the onion, some saturated in oil, others dry and like a hockey puck. Then some are just perfect. Since I didn't grow up with these traditionally, I can't be nostalgic, but I can pretend.
I needed to try and make the perfect latke...just like my....Italian grandmother.... who didn't
speak English....who lived on Arthur Avenue did...yea thats it. haha.
My first attempt at these years ago, I omitted the onion. BIG MISTAKE. Then I made them with plain breadcrumbs a few times, which is fine, if you are basic. But I feel a few things are critical. Potato...obvi, salt...don't be shy....onion, yes its critical...then matzo. The matzo can be matzo meal, which I have used the most, or my fav, crushed up matzo bread.
When I didn't have matzo meal, I ended up taking matzo bread and crushing it up in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin. This was a winner and how I still make my latkes today.
I will never turn down a latke, but I will certainly judge it. I still will eat the whole thing. No Latke left behind.
I prefer them crispy. Super crispy. More potato than anything.
Try these Italian boy Latkes, don't tell your Bubbeh.
Ingredients Makes 16-20 Latkes depending on your definition of 1/4 cup :)
2 pounds baking potatoes (4 -6 potatoes) - I use russets. Scrubbed well, but not peeled.
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
2 large eggs
4 matzo bread sheets (crushed in ziplock) or 4 TBLS Matzo Meal or unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Frying Oil - I use Canola and recommend it
Applesauce and sour cream for serving
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Need to soak up that oil. Set aside.
Grate potatoes and onion with a cheese grater or food processor. If I am making these for event, I tend to double the recipe and will use the shredding disk on my food processor. If it's just a single batch, I tend to use the cheese grater. Grate this all into large bowl. Then squeeze a bit and pour off as much liquid as you can.
Add the other ingredients to shredded potatoes and onion: eggs, crushed matzo bread, salt, and pepper . Mix with your hands, making sure that the crushed matzo bread gets all up in the rest of the ingredients. Set aside for 10 minutes. This lets the bread soak up some of that potato and onion juice.
You probably need more salt and pepper...do it again...just a little more :)
Heat the oil. Place the oil in large skillet. About an inch to inch and half. Heat over medium-high heat until a piece of the mixture sizzles.
Form latkes one at a time. Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture and flatten with your hands into a patty. Like you're forming a burger, then smushing it.
Fry the latkes until golden on both sides. Gently place the latke into the hot oil. Repeat until the pan is full but the latkes aren't crowded. Cook until deeply golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat if necessary.
Drain the latkes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to dry a bit while you fry the others.
Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream. These heat up so well. So you can make in advance and just heat back up in oven on baking sheet till sizzling.