OK, it’s too late to put a brisket in the oven for the first night of Hanukah. Luckily, potato pancakes, or latkes, are reasonably quick, and you may already have all of the ingredients in your pantry. If you’re not a purist, a food processor will really speed things up. Some people prefer green onions or chives to grated brown onions. It does look prettier. If you do a good job, people may not even notice that the roast chicken is from Ralph’s deli.
POTATO PANCAKES (LATKES)
This is my own interpretation of my “Jewish mother” Mrs. Barton’s recipe, as I remember her using matzoh instead of flour. If you grate the potatoes straight into a bowl of water, it will help prevent discoloring. Nowadays I use a food processor, although many people think that changes the texture of the potatoes too much. If you are serving meat, you wouldn’t include the sour cream.
2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes
1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons grated onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel potatoes and grate fine. Add flour and eggs and blend well.
Add onion and season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in the skillet until you can flick a drop of water into the oil and make it sizzle.
Spread a little of the pancake mixture onto a flat spatula, forming a thick pancake.
Carefully slide the pancake into the oil, flattening with the back of the spatula if it is too thick.
A regular-sized pan can probably hold three pancakes at a time.
Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Eat while still warm with applesauce (and sour cream if you can).