Nana's Latkes

Growing up, we had latkes once a year for one night of Hanukkah — we certainly don’t do them for all eight nights! These days we do it on Christmas Eve when we have our annual cousins’ sleepover. 

My cousin Ben and his family, as well as my sister, her family and I have a sleepover where we make latkes and celebrate Hanukkah together (regardless of when on the calendar it actually falls). On Christmas morning, we take my food truck downtown to OTR and use it to feed the homeless. This will be our third year doing it and we all look so forward to it every year. 

Here is the latke recipe to the best of my knowledge. We just kind of wing it when it comes to latkes. A little too wet? Put in more flour or put it through the colander again. Need a little more salt? Put it in. That’s how Jewish grandmothers roll — nothing is precise!

Our recipe is done on the grill, but you can go old school for sure and do it on the stove. Same method, just prepare for your house (and hair and clothes) to smell like latkes for the next week if you stay inside! It’s not a difficult recipe, it’s just a long process and not something we make regularly.   

Oh. You might notice that in some of the pictures there is champagne in hand. When Nana is around, a cocktail is usually enjoyed. Her favorite is anything sparkling! 

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. potato — russet, nothing special
  • 4-ish eggs
  • All-purpose flour or matzo meal
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
  • Sour cream or applesauce

Instructions

Peel the potatoes and either shred by hand or with a food processor. Put shredded potatoes in a colander and get out as much liquid as possible! SQUEEEEEZE!

Add potatoes to a bowl and stir in 4 beaten eggs, a teaspoon of kosher salt, ¼-ish teaspoon pepper, ¼ cup matzo meal or 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons of all purpose flour. Mix well. If it seems too wet, add more flour or matzo meal.

Heat the grill on high and place a skillet with 1 inch of canola oil on the grill. Drop a couple of pieces of potato in the oil to check when it’s hot enough (it should bubbly rapidly). When it’s hot enough, drop a large forkful of potato mixture into the oil and flatten. 

Fill the pan with 4 to 6 latkes (depending on pan size). Resist the urge to flip them until you see the edges starting to turn brown. Gently flip and brown on the second side.  

When cooked on both sides, place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels or brown bags to absorb grease. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.  

Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream and/or applesauce!

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Nana's Latkes
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Cast of players: Emily Frank (standing center); Adele Reingold aka Nana or The Boss: Head of the family (seated center); Lynn Frank: Emily’s mom (left); Leslie Putz: Emily’s sister (second from left); Dan Putz: Emily’s brother in law (right); Eli, Ethan and Sadie Putz: Emily’s nephews and niece.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Cast of players: Emily Frank (standing center); Adele Reingold aka Nana or The Boss: Head of the family (seated center); Lynn Frank: Emily’s mom (left); Leslie Putz: Emily’s sister (second from left); Dan Putz: Emily’s brother in law (right); Eli, Ethan and Sadie Putz: Emily’s nephews and niece.
Nana's Latkes
Nana's Latkes
Nana's Latkes
Nana's Latkes
Nana's Latkes
Nana's Latkes
Nana's Latkes