What's more classic on Hanukkah than a plate of crispy, golden-brown latkes? If you're planning to make some for the first time, don't fret. We've got you covered with a tried-and-true recipe that comes together in just over 30 minutes. We've used Yukon gold potatoes in our version, which pairs excellently with either applesauce or sour cream. Pro-tip: Alternating between onion and potatoes when grating keeps the potatoes from darkening.
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Peel the Yukon gold potatoes and the yellow onion. Finely chop some chives, and set the rest of your ingredients near your work surface.
Set a box grater inside a large strainer, then set the strainer inside a large bowl. Start to grate some of the onion into the strainer using the box grater's wide side. Grating some of the onion first will help keep the potatoes from browning later when you add them.
Grate the peeled potatoes into the onion mixture. Then continue to switch back and forth between grating the onion and potatoes until everything is grated.
Generously salt the potato mixture, using 4 or 5 generous pinches of salt. The salt will help flavor the potatoes and also draw excess water out of the ingredients, making the latkes crispy.
To extract even more water from the potatoes and onion, place the mixture inside a clean kitchen towel or a few layers of cheesecloth. Form a bundle, then squeeze the cloth to press out excess moisture. When the majority of the water has been squeezed out, pour off the liquid juices from the top of the bowl, but reserve the layer of milky, bright white potato starch at the bottom of the bowl.
In the bowl with the starch, add the potato mixture, chives, matzo, and two beaten eggs. Stir gently to combine, and adjust the seasoning with more salt and some pepper if you wish.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet such as a cast iron or stainless steel one, add enough oil to reach about 1/4 inch up the sides of the pan. Heat it over medium-high heat until its hot enough that when you drop a small piece of potato in it, the potato sizzles fairly rapidly. When this happens, begin adding 1/4 cup scoopfuls of the batter to the pan, pressing them down gently with a spatula after adding them to flatten the tops and slightly expand the size of the latke.
Lower the heat to medium and continue to fry, turning once with the spatula, until the latkes are deeply browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove to a drying rack set over a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, or to a paper-towel-lined platter. Serve dolloped with your favorite toppings, such as sour cream, créme fraîche, applesauce, or apple butter.