Monday, August 2, 2010

Lovely Latkes

Although I may have thrown you off the trail with my bacon and shrimp eating ways, I am in fact a girl of Jewish heritage.  One of my favorite food memories growing up were my grandma's latkes, though at the time we just called them potato pancakes and I was ignorant of the dish's Jewish origins.  All I knew was that they were crispy, moist and absolutely delicious with applesauce on top.

Traditionally, latkes are a Hannukah food, cooked in oil as a reminder of God's miraculous supply of oil for eight days.  Making them in the summer is probably akin to baking gingerbread men on a Tuesday in June, but I just can't seem to stop myself.  They pair perfectly with meats and fish, and while they are usually made with potatoes and onions only, they are an excellent vehicle for hiding some more nutritious vegetables.  I wish the recipe was more complicated so I could brag a bit more when people ask how I make them, but alas, they are wonderfully easy.  There is a lot of grating involved, so if the shredding attachment on your food processor is collecting dust somewhere, now is the time to brush it off.  You will be on your way to lovely latkes in no time.  L'chaim!

Vegetable Latkes

3 small/medium russet potatoes, peeled (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1/2 medium yellow onion, skin removed
1 small zucchini
1 large carrot, peeled
1 egg
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
Unsweetened applesauce (optional)

In a large bowl, beat the egg until combined, then whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

Using a box grater or food processor, coarsely shred the potatoes, onion, zucchini (with skin), and carrot.   Add to egg mixture and toss until vegetables are evenly distributed.

In heavy skillet over medium heat, heat about 1/2" of oil to about 350 F.  (To test oil, place a small dollop of latke batter in pan.  It should sizzle vigorously but not burn.)  Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.  Scoop potato mixture by heaping 1/4 cupfuls into oil.  Flatten into pancake with the back of a spatula.  Cook until edges are deep golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.  Do not overcrowd the pan; cook only 3-4 latkes at a time.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve latkes hot and pass a bowl of applesauce to spoon over the top.

1 comment:

  1. yummm.. they sound wonderful!! and I'm actually looking for a good gingerbread recipe too, if you have one. (non-vegan though :) )