I continue with my "ha". Gamliel's latkes may be fine but they are, in fact a sort of post modern version (and obviously inferior version). Now postmo is fine with me. Sheesh…..I even enjoy postmo novels and poetry. But postmo latkes? I suspect that this offends five hundred years of Jewish tradition.
As to specifying the type of potatoes and onions – heck, that is merely Puritanical. With re adding Irish whiskey, although that might please Umberto Eco it would absolutely shock any Polish, German or Russian Jewish mama, papa or grandparent. And so it should shock Jewish children, grandchildren and by heaven, even great-grandchildren. And although dealing with "something" called "grains of paradise" might appeal to those who shop entirely at D.C. or NYC gourmet shops, it would cause most Jewish grandmothers to utter forth with quiet moaning (or, if one prefers, loud kvetching).
Vidalia onions, shmildalia onions…..foo….any old white onion will do. Part of the trick, and here Gamliel and I agree, is the continous squeezing out of the liquids from the potato onion mixture.
My own recipe – the height of simplicity. And truth is the greatness of Rogov's latkes depends as much on the combination of flour, salt and pepper with the onion and potato mixture and then (a god-given gift) knowing precisely the right moment for turning the latkes to their second side while frying.
It is said that all is fair in love and war. I do not agree. But indeed, all is absolutely fair in a latke cook-off. Oh yes, in the making of true latkes, it is absolutely forbidden to shred potatoes. The potatoes must (be there no question and no exception) be grated by hand. As to those who try to grate their potatoes in a food processor, let them know that a special level of Hell awaits them!
Rogov (who will be doing latkes for about 20 people, all of whom will be ecstatic, on Friday night)
Rogov's Potato Latkes
The Potato Latkes
12 large potatoes, peeled and grated by hand
3 medium onions, grated
4 eggs, beaten lightly
5 Tbsp. flour or more as required
salt and pepper to taste
oil (ideally a mixture of 50% olive oil, 40% canola oil and 10% walnut oil) for frying (at least 2 1/2 cm or if you prefer 1" deep)
Using a clean tea towel squeeze out as much of the liquid from the potatoes as possible. (The more liquid that can be squeezed out, the better will be the latkes). In the same fashion, squeeze out the liquid from the onions. Combine all the ingredients except the oil and mix together well by hand. Be generous in seasoning with salt and pepper.
In a heavy skillet heat oil a minimum of 21/2 cm. (1") deep. Form individual pancakes by hand and when the oil is thoroughly hot slide in enough pancakes to fill most of the pot, but be sure to leave room between the pancakes. When the latkes are nicely browned on the first side, turn them and cook until browned on both sides and crisp on the edges. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper toweling. Serve immediately or keep warm in a very low oven. Serve plain or with sour cream, applesauce or sugar. (Serves 4 - 6).
Variation: To make Polish Ratzelech, add 2 large peeled, cored and grated apples to the batter and fry the pancakes in a large skillet with about 2 1/2 centimeters of hot chicken fat.
P.S. I do hope that all are taking this in precisely the humor that is intended. Only true friends can insult each other as easily as I do here. All insults in return are warmly invited.