Tuesday was the first night of Hanukkah and we celebrated with some golden, crispy potato latkes. The first time I ever tasted a latke (pronounced lot kuh) was at David’s parent’s house, many years ago. Just like matzo ball soup at Passover, I was quickly hooked on this new delight made during Hanukkah. You have probably seen recipes using sweet potatoes or zucchini, but in our house they are made the old-fashioned way. David is a latke purist (I get it, there are some things I like to keep traditional too) so my tried and true recipe is just grated potatoes and onions, eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper. For more flavor, I use a package of matzo ball mix in place of plain matzo meal and a lot of onion. In my food book, a plate of latkes wouldn’t be complete without some sour cream and applesauce to dunk the scrumptious potato disks; they are crispy on the outside but nice and moist on the inside. To szoosh them up, I like to garnish the latkes with some fresh dill and chives.
Don your apron and open your windows or turn on your exhaust fan for this delectable once-a-year treat. Oil is symbolic with this holiday so don’t shy away from frying (click here for more information about Hanukkah). I use canola oil and less than a quarter of an inch deep in the pan. The trick for crispy latkes is hot oil that stays consistently hot, so you may have to adjust your heat source a few times. When the edges turn golden brown they are ready to turn.
To keep the cooked latkes warm while finishing frying the rest, store in a 200° F oven on a platter. There is no better surprise than to open your refrigerator the next day and find some latkes waiting for you (Boston Cream pie would be nice too), so I always make extra. This batch makes about 18 latkes and we were surprised that we ate 10 of them by the end of dinner! Any leftovers should be refrigerated in a sealed container – reheat in a 300° F oven or toast in a toaster oven. They freeze well; just don’t microwave them because they will get rubbery. They are also delightful for breakfast or lunch!
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas from David & Melissa!
And a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Holly Bergman!!!
Eat well and share the love!
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies plus leftovers, makes about 18 latkes
4 medium-large russet potatoes, peeled
1 large onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 package matzo ball mix
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-cracked pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Heat oven to 200 degrees F (to keep latkes warm while frying) and place an oven-proof platter on the middle rack.
Add about 1/8 inch of canola oil to a large skillet. Turn heat to medium-high; when the surface of the oil lightly ripples it is ready. Test oil by adding a small piece of batter; if it browns on each side within a minute, it’s ready.
While the oil is heating, make the batter. Grate potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Add beaten eggs and mix well, making sure all the potatoes are coated. Add matzo ball mix, salt and pepper and mix well.
When the oil is hot, add batter by spoonful (about 1/3 cup) into oil and flatten out with the back of spatula. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, until golden brown, and gently turn latkes away from you. If needed slightly increase heat source to maintain consistent hot oil.
When both sides are golden brown, transfer latkes to a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Spoon more batter into oil and repeat process. Transfer the cooked latkes to the platter in the oven to keep warm.
Serve latkes hot with fresh chopped dill and chives, and a pinch of salt. Serve with a side of a dollop of sour cream and applesauce.
Optional sides: sliced cucumbers and olives.
Pictures from our recent weekend trip to visit Beth and Steve in Chicago. Sorry we missed you, Sara!