Latkes 2010

Hanukkah, vegetarian, Winter

helloooo latkes

I don’t believe that there is one perfect latke recipe, although I am sure that, like chocolate cake, chicken soup, apple pie and pesto, many will claim that their recipe (or their mother’s or grandmother’s) for potato latkes is the best one there is. Perhaps one day I will settle on a favorite, but for now I am still enjoying exploring the many variations of these simple potatoey pleasures. Be prepared for your kitchen, hallway, [maybe] bedrooms, and certainly you hair, to smell like frying potatoes for the duration of Hannuka.

Potato and Celery Root Latkes, from Gourmet Today, edited by Ruth Reichl, 2009

You can shred the potatoes, onions, and celery root in a food processor with the shredding disk. However, you’ll need to use 5 eggs (instead of 4) because the machine grates more coarsely and the mixture will require more binding.

1 large celery root (celeriac; 1 1/2 lb), peeled with a knife
1 1/2 lb large russet (baking) potatoes (about 3 large)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 lb onions, quartered
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten (I used 5 medium)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds
About 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Special equipment:
a kitchen towel (not terry cloth)
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 250°F.
Coarsely grate celery root into a bowl using the 1/3-inch-wide holes of a box grater.
Peel potatoes and coarsely grate into a large bowl. Add lemon juice and toss. Coarsely grate onions into same bowl.
Transfer to towel, then gather up corners to form a sack and twist tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible (get ready, a LOT will come out). Return potatoes and onions to cleaned bowl and stir in celery root, flour, eggs, salt, pepper, and celery seeds until combined well.

you will need to invite some people over to help you eat these

Heat 1/3 inch oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Fill a 1/4-cup measure (not tightly packed) 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 fry until undersides are deep golden, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. Turn over using 2 spatulas and fry until deep golden all over, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes more. (If latkes brown too quickly, lower heat to moderate.) Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Keep warm in 1 layer on a metal rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven. Make more latkes in same manner. Use a second rack and baking pan to keep last batches warm.
Serve with sour cream (I used tofutti) and apple sauce.

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