Monday, December 6, 2010

Lotta Latkes!

Happy Hanukkah everybody!  Let’s enjoy the holiday with the traditional dish: Potato Latkes!

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, celebrates the miracle that during wartime, the lights at the Great Temple in Jerusalem lasted eight days when there was only enough oil for one day.  So for that reason, oily foods are theme of the holiday meals.  Jelly Donuts are often seen, but everyone’s favorite dish is the Latke – A pan fried potato pancake.

And for a traditional dish, they’re fairly easy to make.  You just need uncooked potatoes, onions, egg, and spices.  Luckily, you can more than likely find the potato and onion pre-chopped in your local supermarket freezer section… which is what I used!

Use about a pound of potato and half a pound of onion.  If you have fresh potatoes, use a cheese grater and cut them into small flakes.  Put them and about half a pound of chopped onion into a large bowl.  Make sure the potato is thawed and sticks together… you may need to add a little bit of water.  Add your spices;  I used a few shakes of salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and a sprinkle of chili powder.  Throw in an egg and mix together.

Prepare a frying pan with enough oil to cover the bottom.  I probably used a bit too much, but you don’t need a ton to fry these babies up right!

When you hear the oil crackle, spoon out a clump of the mixture and carefully drop it in the pan.  Latkes can be any size, but I found that the smaller ones cooked better.  Flatten them with your spatula.  After 4-5 minutes you will want to flip them… they should come up easy and stay together otherwise let them sit another minute or two. 

Ok, you’re not supposed to use metal in a Teflon pan, but I did anyway… just be careful.  I don’t trust plastic spatulas in boiling oil, even if they are kitchen-rated.

After another 4-5 minutes, scoop up each patty and let it drip back into the pan to remove the excess oil.  Place on a paper towel atop a plate or other surface.  I luckily had a pizza box lying around which was perfect!

The excess grease will drain out after a few minutes and you will have a crispy, potatoey Latke ready to be scarfed down at your Hanukkah celebration… or as a quick snack.  They’re also good for breakfast in place of your every day hash browns.

Traditionally, Latkes can be served with Sour Cream and Applesauce.  But, I didn’t have either of these lying around at the time.  But what I did have was leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving.  So, like a good bachelor chef, this is what I used, and it worked just as well.

Chag Sameach (Happy Holidays) and Bon Appetit!


Post a Comment