It’s Hanukkah. Have you had your latkes yet?
Okay, latkes-fried pancakes made from grated potatoes and onions-are not only for Hanukkah, but they are certainly a traditional dish served over this holiday. Here are a number of takes on the classic recipe to inspire you to try something new with your latkes.
Our favourite latke is the probably the simplest; grated potatoes, onions, a little flour and egg to bind and quickly fried in oil to a delicious golden brown. Served with sour cream, and a little chopped chive, or applesauce, what’s not to like?
Hanukkah ends this Sunday, and there is the remote chance that you are dying for some amazing latkes but haven’t had any yet or don’t feel like whipping a batch. If that is the case you should definitely head to Caplansky’s Deli on Sunday, December 16 at 8 p.m. for his annual “Latkepalooza” where you can eat all the latkes you can shake a shtick at, and vote for your favourite. Better yet, you can enter the latke competition for a guaranteed lunch for two, while the winner, based on popular vote, will receive dinner for four. Seems like a great way to celebrate the last night of the festival of Lights!
But latkes also lend themselves quite nicely to healthy extemporizations. We came across this great recipe for a deluxe Carrot, Cabbage and Kale Latke in the New York Times and tried it out. They are so delicious you’d swear they were bad for you. Try these if you want to trick your kids into eating more kale, especially at this time of year, what could be better for them than kale and cabbage? For those of you that are not into kale (and you know who you are) perhaps a Butternut Squash and Sage Latke is more to your liking. Sweet Potato Latkes with Ginger and Sesame introduce some Asian flair to the traditional recipe, and these Sweet Potato Latkes with Cinnamon get topped with bacon and eggs for a breakfast-y twist. For a super crispy crust try coating your latkes in panko.
If you want to shave some time off your latke cooking, try this recipe from Canadian Living for a Family-Sized Latke.
Another amazing recipe for latkes comes to us courtesy of Saveur. These ingenious “Modernist” Latkes use a creamy mashed potato filling in a crispy golden coating made from instant mashed potato flakes.
4 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 500g), peeled
1 cup (100g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
⅜ cup sour cream (100g)
¾ cup thinly-sliced chives (25g)
Salt, to taste
1 cup (150g) potato starch
1 cup (65g) instant mashed potato flakes
Neutral oil, for frying
1. Cut the potatoes into 1″ pieces. Transfer to a pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and pass them through a ricer. Stir butter, sour cream, and chives into the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and mix well. Spread the potato puree in a ½” layer on a parchment-lined baking tray. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.
2. Use a 2½”-diameter ring cutter to cut out circles from the chilled potato puree. Whisk the egg together with 5 tbsp. water, and pour into a shallow dish. Dust the potato circles in potato starch to coat. Then, drip the potato circles in egg wash, and dredge them in the instant mashed potato flakes. Dip the potato circles once more in the egg wash and again in the instant mashed potato flakes.
3. Heat frying oil to a depth of ½” in a deep skillet to 375°F. Fry the latkes a few at a time, until they turn brown and crispy, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain the fried latkes on paper towels, and serve them hot.