Never Too Late for Latkes!

Hanukkah has come and gone and I almost missed out on latkes! In the end though, I was able to make time to fit in these bad boys, and oh MAN am I glad I did! Crisp and golden on the outside with a fluffy potato center; this recipe for the Hanukkah specialty was a winner.

Latkes crisping in olive oil on the skillet.

Never having made latkes on my own before, I chose a pretty simple recipe. We happened to have parsnips in our fridge, so this variation was a pleasant surprise. Another great thing about this recipe? You can make it healthier! Simply sub in whole wheat flour instead of white flour and there you go! You won’t taste the difference, but you’ll have heart smart latkes.

The eggs, the potatoes, parsnips and scallions, and whole wheat flour -- all together make delicious (and healthy) latkes!

These were so tasty and so easy to make, I can’t imagine I’ll wait til next Hanukkah to try them again….

Potato-Parsnip Latkes (Recipe adapted from Gourmet, December 2002)

ingredients

1 large russet (baking) potato (8 to 10 oz)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 medium parsnips (1 lb total), peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or scallions
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil

preparation

Preheat oven to 250°F.
Peel potato and coarsely grate into a bowl. Add lemon juice and toss to combine. Place potato on towel, then gather up corners to form a sack and twist tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Stir potato together with parsnips, flour, eggs, chives, salt, and pepper until combined well.
Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Fill a 1/4-cup measure three-fourths full with latke mixture and carefully spoon it into skillet, then flatten to 3 inches in diameter with a slotted spatula. Form 3 more latkes in skillet, then cook until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer latkes with spatula to paper towels to drain. Keep warm on a rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven. Make more latkes in same manner, in batches of 4, with remaining mixture.

Note: The instructions here would make small latkes, I tripled the recipe and made pancake-sized latkes for a main course.  I found it easiest to grate all my potatoes and parsnips using a food processor. Also, I added more olive oil to the pan after every batch of latkes; it seemed to help them cook faster/better. Lastly, I skipped the whole oven part and used a heat lamp — just do whatever works to keep your latkes warm! Better yet, eat them as they come of the stove!

Traditionally, latkes would be served with sour cream or apple sauce. I had neither on hand…so I improvised! Pesto was a delicious accompaniment.

Latkes with a dollop of pesto -- a delicious combo!

The combination of Christmas dinner leftovers (i.e. cranberry sauce) was surprisingly good, too!

Potato parsnip latkes with leftover Christmas turkey and fixings...the true meaning of Chrismukkah?!

Latkes can be an appetizer, a side dish or the main course. Just keep in mind that there is no right way to make or serve your latkes. Enjoy playing with the variations and make up your own! Happy Cooking (and Belated Hannukah)!!

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