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Our Favorite (Non)Traditional Latkes


zucchini latkes

Zucchini Latkes with Mint & Meyer Lemon Labneh
By Lauren Braun Costello
Makes 4-6 servings.

Latkes are fried potato pancakes traditionally made to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. But the frying is the symbolic part of the recipe, not the potato. This latke is made with grated zucchini and mint, which makes for a lighter pancake so good that even the kids won’t know they are eating their greens! Paired with a labneh (strained yogurt) spiked with Meyer lemon juice and zest, the flavor is vibrant and bright. You can serve this pretty pancake any time of year for an elegant appetizer or side dish.

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; box grater or food processor with a shredder disc; measuring spoons; dry measuring cups; mixing bowls; spoons; reamer or fork; microplane or zester; large sauté pan; offset heatproof spatula

Ingredients:
1 cup labneh
juice and zest of two Meyer Lemons
6 zucchini, skin-on
½ bunch mint leaves (stems discarded)
3 tablespoons matzo meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper or to taste
vegetable oil for frying

1. First make the labneh. Combine the Meyer Lemon zest and juice with the labneh. Season with salt, if desired. Set aside.
2. To make the latkes, grate the zucchini either in a box grater or in a food processor. Place the grated zucchini on a clean dish towel. Gather the dish towel to enclose the zucchini and squeeze the liquid from the zucchini.
3. Combine the strained zucchini, mint, salt, pepper, matzo meal and eggs in a large bowl. Beat well with a fork to combine.
4. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil (or any high flashpoint oil) in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot and shimmering—but NOT smoking—add ¼-cup dollops of latke batter to the oil and flatten with the back of a heatproof spatula. Cook the latkes for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
Be sure to manage the heat source so that the oil does not smoke (likely medium to medium-low).
5. Drain the latkes on a tray or plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with the Meyer lemon labneh, or keep warm until service in a 250F oven.

Egg Free Latkes

Egg-Free Latkes
​By Lauren Kohr

My Favorite Latkes are actually egg-free! I started making latkes with no eggs for a client and they have become my absolute favorite. They get super super crispy because they are not wet and the crunchy edges are my favorite. 

Ingredients:
3 russet potatoes, grated
1/2 vidalia sweet onion, grated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Light oil, such as canola or vegetable for frying

1) Grate the potatoes on a box grater or with food processor. Food processor is the way to go! 
2) Grate onions the same way and add to potatoes.
3) Squeeze the water out of the mixture with a clean dish towel to ensure the potatoes and onions are super dry. 
4) Combine with flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. 
5) Heat oil in skillet- about 4-5 Tablespoons to ensure the bottom of the skillet is completely covered. 
6) Once oil is shimmering drop small handfuls of mixture pressed together into the pan. It should bubble and start to fry immediately. 
7) Once the edges begin to look golden brown flip and fry on the other side. About 3 minutes per side depending on how crowded the pan is and how large the latkes are. 
8) Drain immediately on a paper towel and sprinkle with finishing salt. My favorite is maldon sea salt. 

I love to make a "latke topping bar" and let my guests pick their toppings. 

My favorite latke topping combinations are: 

Plain greek yogurt, pomegranate seeds, wild honey and salt 
Creme fraiche, smoked salmon, dill and caviar
Scratch-made caramelized onion dip (or store bought) and scallions 
Pulled bbq chicken with pickled onions 

But my ultimate favorite is a pile of hot latkes with a runny fried egg broken on top and finished with black pepper and sea salt. It sure is messy but it is my favorite. 

Spinach Feta Latkes & Dilly Yogurt Topping
By Liz Rueven

Serving: 25-35 latkes

Notes:
A food processor makes quick work of grating potatoes and chopping onions
but if you don’t have one, don’t fret. Use a box grater like your grandma did.
In the same vein, a cast iron pan is a great choice for frying because it heats
up more evenly than other materials. If you don’t have one, don’t fret about
this either.

This is the first time I made latkes without peeling the potatoes. It saves a lot
of work and doesn’t affect the flavor or texture. In fact, it probably improves
the texture if you like your latkes ragged around the edges.

Prepare a cookie sheet with paper towels to place/drain your cooked latkes
on.

Start by making the yogurt topping as it needs an hour to rest in the
refrigerator before serving.

Ingredients:
Yogurt Topping:
7 oz. container of whole milk Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
⅓ cup finely chopped cucumber
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. lemon juice
½ tsp. Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Latkes:
Canola oil for frying
6 medium Russet potatoes
2 medium white onions
4 fat scallions, washed, patted dry, green part only
3 large eggs
6 oz. feta cheese, drained
1 cup fresh spinach
¼ cup fresh dill, minced
6-7 Tb. unseasoned panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. Salt
Ground pepper to taste

Directions:
Make the topping:
Before making the latkes, mix the yogurt topping. It benefits from hanging
out in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Place all ingredients for sauce in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Adjust
seasoning after it rests in the refrigerator.

Make the latkes:
Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush and pat dry with paper towels. Set
aside.

Peel onions and chop in processor. If using a knife, chop well. Set aside.
Chop scallions and set aside.

If you need to wash the spinach, spin it very dry. Chop spinach and set aside.
Have all of your ingredients at the ready before you start shredding your
potatoes.

Set up a large bowl and place a colander inside.
Shred the potatoes in the processor and place them in the colander. With a
clean dishtowel over the top of the mound of shredded potatoes, press down
and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Save the potato starch that gathers in the bowl. It is the talc like substance
that sinks to the bottom of the bowl. Dispose of other liquid.

Add all other latke ingredients to the same bowl, including the potato starch.
Mix well with your hands.

Be sure the ingredients are well distributed and evenly mixed.

Heat ⅛ inch oil in pan. Test to be sure it is really hot by tossing a shred of
potato into the oil. If it sizzles, it’s ready.

Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter into the pan, gently pressing down with the back
of a spatula to flatten.

Allow latkes to brown and flip to cook second side. Place cooked latkes on
paper towel lined cookie sheets so they can drain of excess oil.

Serve piping hot with a dollop of the dilly yogurt topping.

Tips:
It’s important to have all of your ingredients measured and ready before you
begin to shred the potatoes. No need to soak them in ice water if you shred
them and immediately cover them with the rest of ingredients to provide
oxidation.

Latkes are best eaten hot and fresh out of the pan. Still, they can be reheated
successfully by placing them on a foil lined pan in a 400 degree F oven for 7-
8 minutes. They should be sizzling hot.

Potato Latkes

My Favorite Potato Latkes
By Netta Levy

After years of eating and making latkes, here is the go-to Latke recipe, which was inspired by an old Gourmet Magazine recipe:


INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 lb potatoes (Russets, Yukon)
  2. 2 scallions, finely chopped
  3. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 3/4 cup safflower or peanut oil (both have neutral flavor and a high smoke point)


PREPARATION

  1. Peel and coarsely grate potatoes (I use a food processor). Wrap in a clean dish towel and squeeze as much of the liquid out of the potatoes. Some liquid is good so don't stress if you can't get all of it out.  Trust me.
  2. Stir together squeezed potatoes, scallions, flour, eggs, salt, and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot but NOT smoking. Working in batches of 4-6, spoon 1/8-1/4 cup potato mixture per latke into oil and flatten with a slotted spatula. Reduce heat to medium and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer latkes with spatula to a drying rack set over over a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
  4. Serve hot with your favorite toppings.

 
​Notes: 

  1. If you're feeling super lazy or pressed for time, start with shredded hash brown potatoes in your local freezer aisle.  Genius, right???
  2. Serving trick: if you're planning to have guests over to enjoy these, you can pre-make the latkes and simply reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, to get them crispy again.  


Happy eating! Hope hope have a wonderful Chanukah filled with lots of fried foods and loved ones.


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