What's Hanukkah without family and latkes? To celebrate the annual festival of lights, we found the best latke recipe ever from the new cookbook Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food ($24, amazon.com).
Authors Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps wrote Eating Delancey as an homage to their childhoods spent crowded around Brooklyn tables as dish after dish of traditional brisket, carrot tzimmes, knishes, and more were laid out before them by their mothers and bubbes. In the book, the duo explores the magical cradle of the Lower East Side of New York City—including Delancey Street—where so many Jewish immigrants settled and established businesses cooking up body-and-soul nourishing food.
"Jewish food makes Italian food seem like Lean Cuisine." —Joan Rivers
Classic, still-thriving eateries including Russ & Daughters, Katz's Delicatessen, and Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse share their comfort food recipes and celebrities—including Bette Midler, Lou Reed, and Isaac Mizrahi—share their memories of favorite Yiddish dishes. "I look at Jewish food and think, 'How can anyone hate the Jews with all of the scrumptious things they produce?'" Joan Rivers writes in her posthumous introduction for the book. "The food of my childhood ... prune hamantaschen, a good macaroon, tzimmes! I'm in heaven."
These crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside latkes are one of our favorite recipes from the packed cookbook. The recipe comes directly from New York's famed 2nd Ave Deli and is best enjoyed in the light of a menorah, surrounded by family.
Makes: 20 latkes
2½ pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered2 large onions (use 1½ grated; don't tamp down)3 eggs, beaten2 cups matzo meal1 cup flour3/4 cup corn oil½ cup corn oil for frying2½ teaspoons salt1 teaspoon pepperapplesaucesour cream
1. In a food processor, fine-grate potatoes (don't liquefy; leave some texture), and strain to eliminate excess liquid. Don't overdo it; just let the water drain out.2. Fine-grate onion, and mix in a large bowl with potatoes. (If you don't have a food processor, you can grind the potatoes and onions in a met grinder.)3. Add eggs, baking powder, 3/4 cup of corn oil (most of it cooks out), flour, salt, and pepper; mix well. Fold in matzo meal, making sure that everything is very well blended.4. Heat ½ cup corn oil in a deep skillet. Spoon batter (use a large kitchen spoon) into the pan to create pancakes about 3½ inches in diameter. Fry on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes until underside is a deep golden brown, turn, and fry another minute or two.5. Drain on paper towel.6. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.