We just got back from a Wilder Family Trip up to the mountains of Big Bear, California. My sister and her family live “up there” full-time, and my parents have a nice getaway spot right next door.
As part of our quality family time, we attended a Seder on Saturday night at B’Nai Big Bear, the local rustic-casual Jewish congregation. (That’s the one bummer of an April Birthday — every so often it’s trumped by Passover. And sometimes it’s even trumped by both Passover and Easter! Mom did make fabulous Kosher-For-Passover Birthday Lemon Bars, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me, and I got to blow out some candles, so I’m not complaining all that much, mind you.)
On Sunday we had a big family brunch, in which Mom, Matty, and I made Grandma Roses’s “Matzah Latkes” recipe for everyone. (A Latke is a potato pancake that’s been pan-fried — kind of like hash brown patties.) Grandma actually called it “Fried Matzah” — but I think “Matzah Latkes” is more accurate. Besides, I wouldn’t want you to think these come out of the deep fryer!
Considering that the results of my poll on Saturday said loud-and-clear that you all want more recipes from me, I thought I should share this one right away. This recipe goes back as far as I can remember (Grandma used to make it whenever she visited from The Bronx during Passover), and it’s quite possibly my favorite Passover tradition.
That, and cooking with my family.
- 1 medium Potato
- 1 small Onion
- 1 Egg
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Matzah Meal, maybe a bit more
- 1 sheet of Matzah (we use Whole Wheat)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons Oil, for frying
- Wash and grate the potato (keep the skin on, it's healthier and at least as tasty) and add to a large bowl. Pour off any excess moisture. Finely grate the onion and add to the bowl.
- Crack an egg in a small bowl, scramble it with a fork, and add it to the potato and onion mixture.
- Add the salt and Matzah Meal, and mix thoroughly. (The Matzah Meal works to absorb a bit of extra moisture from the potatoes and onions -- if it's really runny, just mix in a little more matzah meal.)
- Take a sheet of Matzah and run it briefly under cool water to moisten both sides.
- Place the matzah on a flat surface (such as a cutting board) and scoop about ¾ cup of the potato mixture on top. Flatten it out with the back of the spoon or your hands so there's about ½ inch (1.25 cm) of mixture on top.
- Heat the oil on medium in a large, nonstick skillet. Gently place the Matzah, potato side down, in the pan. Be sure the heat is not too high -- else you'll burn the potatoes before they cook all the way through.
- While it's cooking, add the potato mixture to the other side of the Matzah. Once the bottom is browned, about 4-5 minutes, gently lift the matzah with a large spatula and -- very carefully -- flip it over so the other side will cook. (Tip: After you lift the pancake out of the pan, tilt the frying pan up to about a 45 degree angle. You won't have to flip it over quite as far, and that also helps any excess oil move out of the way so it doesn't splatter as much upon landing).
- Cook the other side until brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, slice into quarters (squares or triangles) and serve immediately.