1. Grate the potatoes and onion by hand or with the grating disk of a food processor; drain well in a colander or strainer. Combine the potatoes and onion in a large bowl with the eggs and bread crumbs; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Put about 1/8 inch of oil in a large, deep skillet, preferably nonstick or cast-iron, over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (it will shimmer), put the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the bottom is nicely browned, at least 15 minutes, adjusting the heat so the mixture sizzles but doesn’t burn.
3. To turn, slide the cake out onto a large plate, cover with another large plate, and invert the 2 plates together. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary and slide the pancake back in, cooked side up. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, until nicely browned, then serve hot or warm.
Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
The original: Prepare the potato batter in Step 1 and heat the pan as described in Step 2. When the oil is hot, put large spoonfuls of batter into the pan to form individual pancakes. Cook until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total per pancake. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven until all of the latkes are finished.
Other vegetables you can use: sweet potatoes (cooked over slightly lower heat for about 5 minutes less per side); a combination of potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots, or turnips is also good.
Chef's note: If you don’t use a nonstick pan, coat the bottom of your skillet with about 1/8 inch of oil. And turn the thing carefully.