Latkes. Fried potato goodness dipped in sour cream and/or apple sauce. We eat them once a year on Hanukkah. They are worth every single calorie and every minute of frying. Of course if you are only cooking for a small family, it’s not that labor intensive. But if you are like us, and want to make 50+ latkes, it takes a bit of time…
There are many, many variations on latkes. This year since Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, we are seeing lots of sweet potato latke recipes with sweet and fun toppings. We are sticking to the traditional. We only have them once a year and I want them the same way I’ve been enjoying them for the last few decades. 🙂 However, I highly recommend adding zucchini and even some garlic powder for some extra flavor and goodness. Using less potato and more vegetable is obviously a good thing, and you can’t taste the difference. It’s a great way to hide some veggies and make your kids eat them! 🙂 More photos to come post Thanksgivukkah!
- 6 medium potatoes (or substitute one or two potatoes with zucchini)
- 1 onion
- 2 eeggs, slightly beaten
- 3 tbsp. flour – add more as needed
- Salt & Pepper (season liberally!)
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- Vegetable oil for fying
- Garlic powder (optional)
Peel and rinse potatoes in cold water. Half the potatoes to fit in the grater and then grate the potatoes and onion- I recommend a food processor with a grating disc. You can do them by hand but why bother? We use the julienne grater so our latkes have texture. Otherwise they’re like mush.
Strain out the liquid. Add eggs, flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Mix well.
You’ll want to keep your mixture cold if you aren’t frying immediately–especially if you have a large batch like us. Place ice in a large bowl and set your bowl with the mixture in it, in the ice bath.
Using a slotted spoon, take a small spoonful of the mixture to the frying pan. I suggest using another spoon to press down on the latke making it thin and squeezing out any excess liquid. We like thin and crunchy latkes (see photo). If you want thick potato pancakes, look elsewhere. Then slide the mixture off the pan into the oil.
Taste one of your first latkes. You may need to add more salt so now is the time to test it 🙂
Fry until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towel-lined brown grocery bags.
Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream. We made a delicious sour cream topping by adding parmesan cheese and truffle salt.
A staple dish for Jews round the world is matzo ball soup. When I was in Venice I managed to find a Jewish quarter with a little deli that made some of the best matzo ball soup I’ve ever had! It’s comforting and oddly delicious. My family makes it every year for different holidays but always on Passover for our Seder. This year we decided to try something slightly different and put an Italian twist on the matzo balls by making them red, white and green, in true “Jewtalian” spirit. These are not your traditional balls.
A word of advice, when making as many balls as we did, don’t try to cook them in one pot because they won’t cook properly and fluff up like they should. That’s what we get for drinking the manischewitz wine before the Seder… They were still delicious even though they weren’t as fluffy as some might like- these would be considered sinkers, not floaters.
Photos Courtesy of Snap Photography
You can follow the instructions on the box as we did and make the easy adjustments to get the pretty colors and added flavor of the tri colore matzo balls. I thought the red ones in particular had great flavor! We made one batch per color, roughly 63 matzo balls in total.
Instructions for color:
-Place a cup or so of fresh baby spinach, a bunch of parsley and a small garlic clove in a blender with a dash of olive oil. Strain he liquid out using a cheese cloth and reserve to use instead of water in the next step. Continue per the instructions above and add a dash of onion powder.
-Add 2 tablespoons red tomato paste, garlic powder and onion powder to original recipe.
-Follow instructions on the box.
After you cook your matzo balls put them in a big bowl of home made chicken soup and serve topped with fresh parsley. Enjoy!!
And here is a photo of our beautiful Seder tabled decorated by mom:
This Jew decided to make Italian inspired latkes from a recipe by Giada on Christmas Eve which coincidentally was also Hanukkah. I brought these as an appetizer to my aunt’s house. Giada’s recipe sounded too good to ignore! And while I have tried using zucchini and other vegetables for a healthier alternative to all potato latkes, I haven’t ever tried the rest of her suggestions.
I used very little rosemary in my version and instead opted for some fresh Italian parsley and basil. Instead of standing over pan frying individual latkes for an hour, Giada baked them! This recipe couldn’t be more perfect for me. It’s just too bad they didn’t come out as great as I anticipated! (Note: Since I wasn’t serving them immediately I decided to do step 1 at home- put them in the frying pan to toast up the bottom and then put it on a baking sheet to bake when we arrived. I think it would have been smarter to complete all the cooking at home and re-heat upon arrival. This might just be a recipe to cook at home and eat at home!)
The latkes tasted delicious but were under cooked in the middle. They did get crispy on the outsides (I was somewhat weary the texture wouldn’t be the same with out all the frying!). My advice to you when making these, be sure your very large latke isn’t too thick in the pan or it will be hard to cook through into a nice crispy latke in the oven (the way I like them!). It might have been better to start smaller in a trial run. I also would recommend cutting them in somewhat larger pieces as they easily get messy when cutting into bite sized pieces.
I can’t wait to try these again!!
Giada’s recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/crispy-zucchini-and-potato-pancakes-recipe/index.html
Photo Above Courtesy of Snap Photography
In the picture below are original zucchini and potato latkes I made earlier in the week (without the Italian influence) and fried in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. These easy latkes were made with potato, zucchini, onion, salt, pepper, flour, baking powder and egg. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream, you can’t go wrong!