Lorenza Pintar grew up in Milan in a Jewish family, but didn’t know she was Jewish. Her great-grandparents stopped publicly practicing Judaism when they lived under Mussolini, but the family kept certain religious practices and traditions alive in secret. On Fridays, in a nod to Shabbat, her great-grandmother Emma would polish candlesticks and place them close to one another and then separate them on Saturday night. Special recipes would also quietly appear on the family table at particular times of the year. In the winter, around Hanukkah, that included these latkes served with a local cheese called stracchino.
Vegetable oil, sunflower oil or any other neutral oil for frying
Grate the onion and potatoes using a box grater or food processor. Place the grated onions and potatoes in a tea towel and squeeze the excess liquid into a bowl. After about 5 minutes, drain the water out of the bowl and scrape the potato starch that settled on the bottom of the bowl into a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and onions into the large mixing bowl. Add the flour, egg, salt and pepper and mix well until combined.
Place 1 inch of oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is sizzling, add a tablespoon of the latke mixture into the skillet. Use the tablespoon to pat down the potato to form a flat disk shaped latke. Add about 5 more latkes into the oil and fry on both sides until golden brown, about 3 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked latkes onto a paper towel lined tray. Continue frying the remaining latkes in batches.
Serve hot with a dollop of stracchino cheese on each latke.