Happy Ska-nukkah! It’s a Save Ferris Hanukkah. “Hanukkah day on overload I just cannot stop eating/ I have so many latke that my tush is going to explode,” Monique Powell talk/sings in the 1998 cover of the Waitresses classic “Christmas Wrapping.” For a confused Jewish sixth-grader in Los Angeles, this song (and this band) were everything. Please enjoy this terrible and very literal youtube video of the song:
I have yet to find a better, or snarkier description of the general holiday malaise that sets in just after Thanksgiving. Snark aside, tonight is Hannukah and you have been frantically googling latke recipes since 7am. You figure it would make mom or grandma happy.
I am here to help with a last-minute, time tasted latke recipe. This recipes makes a healthy amount for about 4 people with leftovers. Feel free to double as necessary. This is your very basic and very perfect latke. Nothing fancy here, no schmaltz or baking powder. The key is MATZOH MEAL and ONION. Oh, and a ton of salt. Do not use a food processor for the potatoes. Hand grating is absolutely essential, your tears are a key ingredient.
Warning: your entire apartment or house is going to smell like fried potatoes for at least two days. Close all closet and bedroom doors and burn palo santo right after. Trust me.
Serve with apple sauce and sour cream and a super crispy rose.
Makes about 20 latkes
2 large yellow onion, peeled roughly chopped
4 tablespoons matzoh meal
1 1/2 tablespoons salt + a sprinkle at the end.
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-2 cups frying oil (canola works best)
1 cup apple sauce
1 cup sour cream
1. Peel the potatoes and grate on the largest holes of a box grater into a large bowl. You’ll notice a pool of liquid at the bottom. Use your hands and a paper towel to squeeze out at much liquid and transfer the potato shreds to another large bowl.
2. Pulse the onion in a food processor or blender until you have a tough pulp. If you have eyes of steel, grate them on the box grater. Add to the potatoes.
3. Add the eggs, matzoh meal, salt, pepper and mix with your hands.
4. Heat about 1/2 cup of oil over medium-high heat (the oil should be about 1/4-inch deep) in a heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron is best) and grab about two tablespoons of the mixture in your hand and squeeze out the moisture. Form into a small patty, about 3-inches wide. They WILL fall apart, that’s okay. Use a spatula to press them down and once very dark brown, go ahead and flip. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels or brown bags (Trader Joes bags work wonders). Make one and then taste, adding more salt or egg or matzoh meal. Add more oil as needed to maintain about a quarter inch in the pan (you’ll likely use the full two cups). Add salt at the end. Serve with apple sauce and sour cream.