Combining butter and oil for frying yields great flavor and browning. We love the large size and consistent heat of an electric skillet, but a nonstick skillet will work. (Use two skillets to cook more at one time.)
Grate potatoes and onion through large holes of a box grater; toss with lemon juice. Spread mixture onto 2 clean, dry kitchen towels. Roll up each towel, starting with 1 long side. Wring towels to squeeze out excess liquid. Place potato mixture in a large bowl.
Stir in eggs, matzo meal, salt, and pepper. (Mixture will by dry but will hold its shape when pressed together.)
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter with 2 Tbsp. oil in a deep electric skillet heated to 375° or in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Drop 6 to 8 loosely packed 1/4 cupfuls potato mixture into hot butter mixture; press lightly to flatten into 3-inch rounds. Cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with additional salt. Repeat procedure with remaining butter, oil, and potato mixture. Serve latkes immediately, or keep warm on a wire rack on a baking sheet in a 250° oven up to 30 minutes. Garnish, if desired.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Manischewitz Unsalted Matzo Meal.
Golden Potato-Parsnip Latkes: Prepare recipe as directed, reducing potatoes to 2 lb. and grating 1 lb. peeled parsnips with potatoes and onion. Garnish with parsnip slices and fresh parsley sprigs, if desired.
Golden Carrot-Zucchini Latkes: Prepare recipe as directed, reducing potatoes to 1 lb. and grating 1 lb. peeled carrots and 1 lb. zucchini with potatoes and onion. Garnish with shaved carrots and zucchini, if desired. Note: To make the garnish, use a vegetable peeler to shave thin, lengthwise strips of carrot and zucchini. To make garnish ahead, wrap strips in damp paper towels, place in zip-top plastic bags, and chill up to 24 hours.
I like butter as much as the next person (or maybe more), but IMHO using butter to fry latkes is not a good idea. Everyone in my family felt they tasted "funny."