MY FAVORITE TRADITIONAL AND CREATIVELY UNIQUE LATKE RECIPES

Sunday, December 10, 2017

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Hanukkah is almost here. There are parties, fun gifts, candle lighting, playing dreidel, telling stories of the great Maccabees and the miracle of the thimbleful of oil which lasted eight nights.  Hanukkah is all about joy, family and good food, a holiday I used to wait for all year as a child.

 

Yet the celebrations are incomplete without a hot serving of yummy latkes, accompanied by sour cream and apple sauce.

Curious about the connection between Hanukkah and latkes? Latke is the Yiddish word for pancakes. The latke draws its origin from the Ukrainian potato pancake. It is the dish most associated with Hanukkah around the world since foods fried in oil have symbolic meaning for the holiday.

As you&rsquoll find below, some chefs add smoked salmon as well as salmon roe for a more exotic flavor. I have gathered some of the best latke recipes around to share with all of you.

 

TRADITIONAL POTATO LATKES &ndash THE Grandmother&rsquos recipe

Ingredients (serves 6): 

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 1/2 pound Yukon Gold or other golden potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons matzoh meal or potato flour, plus more if needed
  • Canola oil, as needed for frying

 

This recipe makes a lacy potato pancake if the matzoh meal is used sparingly.

 

Directions: 

  1. Peel onion and cut it in half, then cut each half into eighths. Place onion pieces in the bowl of a food processor and pulse into a medium to fine dice. Remove onion to a large bowl. Immediately run potatoes through the grating wheel on the food processor, and mix potatoes into the onions. (Alternatively, finely dice onions and grate potatoes by hand with a box grater.)
  2. Using your fingers, pick up small amounts of potato mixture by the handful and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Reserve all liquid and allow it to settle in a bowl for a few minutes. Put pressed potato and onion mixture in a clean bowl. Carefully pour off watery part of the reserved liquid but do not discard the thick starchy sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Scrape that into potato mixture.
  3. In a small bowl mix eggs, salt and pepper and combine with potato mixture. Add matzoh meal to batter, starting with 3 tablespoons and adding more if necessary until potato mixture has enough body to stick together.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Heat a 1/2-inch depth of oil in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Form potato mixture into pancakes of approximately 3 inches in diameter and drop into oil, taking care not to crowd pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden on both sides for a total of about 6 minutes. Drain on clean brown paper bags. Transfer the finished pancakes to a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.

Note: Potato latkes can be frozen. After completely cooking pancakes, place on a cookie sheet and freeze, then store in a container. When ready to use, reheat in a 400°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Nutritional Info: 

Per Serving: 240 calories (35 from fat), 3.5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 60mg cholesterol, 810mgsodium, 42g carbohydrates, (3 g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 7g protein.

 

MOM&rsquoS POTATO LATKES

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded potato
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 saltine crackers, or as needed, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or as needed

 

Directions:

  1. Mix potato, onion, eggs, crackers, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour enough vegetable oil into a skillet to fill about 1/2-inch deep heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture, first pressing potato mixture against the side of the bowl to remove excess liquid, into the hot oil slightly flatten the latkes into the oil with the back of your spoon so they are evenly thick.
  4. Cook in hot oil until browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain latkes on a plate lined with a paper towel.

 

CRISPY SWEET POTATO LATKES

Ingredients (serves 5):

  • 2 1/2 pounds yams or white sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded on a box grate
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely shredded on a box grater
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup matzo meal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter OR MARGARINE melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Applesauce, sour cream

 

Directions:

  1. In a colander set over a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the onion and squeeze dry. Let the potatoes and onion drain for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour off the liquid in the bowl, leaving the starchy paste at the bottom. Add the potatoes and onion, along with the eggs, scallions, matzo meal, butter, salt, pepper and baking powder mix well. ?
  2. In a large skillet, heat an 1/8-inch layer of oil until shimmering. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of the latke batter into the ?skillet about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a spatula. Fry the latkes over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the latkes to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a platter. Repeat to make the remaining latkes, adding more oil to the skillet ?as needed. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, smoked salmon and salmon roe. ?
  3. NOTE: The latkes can be fried early in the day recrisp on a baking sheet in a 350° oven.

 

BEET AND POTATO LATKES WITH THYME

Ingredients:

  • 1 large baking potato (3/4 pound)&mdashpeeled, julienned on a mandoline and patted dry
  • 2 medium beets (1/2 pound)&mdashpeeled, julienned on a mandoline and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Sour cream, for serving

 

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, toss the potato and beets with the flour, thyme, pepper and the 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the eggs and mix well.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil until shimmering.
  3. Spoon 1/2 cup of the beet mixture into the hot oil to make about 3 latkes press lightly to flatten. Fry over moderate heat, turning once and adding 1 tablespoon of oil, until the latkes are golden and crisp on both sides, about 15 minutes.
  4. Repeat with the remaining beet mixture and 2 tablespoons of oil.
  5. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve with sour cream

 

CHEF SORIANO&rsquoS GLUTEN FREE AMAZING LATKES

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium potatoes peeled
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup corn starch instead of flour. (This is the Jewish French chefs daring and successful detour and his secret to make them gluten free).
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Peel and grate potatoes and onion with a large-hole grater.
  2. After grating, place the potatoes in a strainer and squeeze the liquid out as much as possible (Soriano&rsquos tip: Wrap ingredients in a cheese cloth and squeeze liquid out as if ringing a wash cloth).
  3. Place the potato and onion mixture in a large bowl.
  4. Add the eggs, salt and corn starch.
  5. Totally combine and mix all ingredients together.
  6. Heat 1/4 inch of Canola oil in a large skillet.
  7. Use your hands to form the mixture into the desired size and carefully lay them into the hot oil without overcrowding the pan.
  8. Once the edges start to brown, turn the pancakes over with a spatula to cook both sides until golden brown.
  9. Take the pancakes out of the skillet and lay them on a sheet pan screen to let the residual oil drip out (Soriano&rsquos tip: Paper towels do not soak up extra grease, instead the food ends up sitting in its own grease).
  10. Serve the potato latkes as hot as possible.
  11. NOTE: Soriano&rsquos latkes can be individually frozen and reheated in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 2 to 3 minutes.

 

VEGETABLE AND FETA LATKES

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 2 ½ cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup peeled and shredded potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

 

Directions:

  1. Place the zucchini, potato and carrots in a colander, place paper towels or a cheesecloth over the top and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and let them drain for 15 minutes. Squeeze vegetable again in paper towels.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, vegetables, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in matzo meal or flour, parsley and feta.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Place vegetable mixture, formed into pancake sized cakes in hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. (Cook two to three minutes per side). Add more oil as needed to keep cakes frying up well. Drain fried latkes on paper towels.

 

VEGAN POTATO LATKES

Ingredients (serves 6): 

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 1/2 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
  • 1 cup cruciferous vegetables or kale
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons matzoh meal, sweet potato flour or gluten free  rice flour. Add more if needed.
  • Canola oil, as needed for frying

 

Directions: 

  1. Peel onion and cut it in half, then cut each half into eighths. Place onion pieces in the bowl of a food processor and pulse into a medium to fine dice. Remove onion to a large bowl. Immediately run potatoes through the grating wheel on the food processor, and mix potatoes into the onions. (Alternatively, finely dice onions and veggies  and grate potatoes by hand with a box grater.)
  2. Using your fingers, pick up small amounts of potato mixture by the handful and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Reserve all liquid and allow it to settle in a bowl for a few minutes. Put pressed veggie/potato and onion mixture in a clean bowl. Carefully pour off watery part of the reserved liquid but do not discard the thick starchy sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Scrape that into potato mixture.
  3. In a small bowl mix eggs, salt and pepper and combine with potato mixture. Add matzoh meal to batter, starting with 3 tablespoons and adding more if necessary until potato mixture has enough body to stick together.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Heat a 1/2-inch depth of oil in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Form potato mixture into pancakes of approximately 3 inches in diameter and drop into oil, taking care not to crowd pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden on both sides for a total of about 6 minutes. Drain on clean brown paper bags. Transfer the finished pancakes to a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.

     

 

 





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