Latkes & Lagniappe   Leave a comment

Latke

I am a latke

And I am waiting

for Chanukah to come

I’m not sure what to say about a song written from the point of view of a latke, one who is waiting for Chanukah to come in order to be…eaten?

It’s a bold move for any song writer.

I do appreciate the inclination to sing about latkes though. Who wouldn’t want to sing about something so delicious? Grated potatoes and onions fried up and eaten with apple sauce. I think I hear a song coming on.

Hmmm…maybe not.

Frying is not a cooking technique that I perform very often for obvious reasons. The prospect of using 2 cups worth of oil is daunting, but frying food is actually quite easy. Once I get past the guilt of doing it and the fear of burning down my house, I find frying food enjoyable — relaxing, even.

Here’s my favorite recipe for latkes. For lagniappe, I’ve included a recipe for apple chutney.

What? Did you think I meant the song to be lagniappe?

Latkes

4-5 large russet potatoes

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup of matzoh meal

1 tbs. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 cups olive oil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and place a rimmed cookie sheet inside. Using a food processor, grate the potatoes. Put them in a colander in the sink and drain for about 10 minutes. You may need to press down on it with a clean kitchen towel in order to get your potatoes very, very dry.

In a very large bowl, gently mix together the grated potatoes, onion, matzoh meal, flour, egg, salt, & pepper just until you feel like the ingredients have come together. It’s usually easiest to do this with your scrupulously clean hands.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Measure out the potato mixture with a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Drop measures into the oil. Cook no more than 4 latkes at a time. This will take a while, but it’s very important not to overcrowd the pan (the latkes will steam, not fry and being oily, mushy, and generally unpleasant). Fry until the latkes are golden brown on one side; carefully flip them over and brown the other side. Remove from oil.

Drain latkes on a plate covered with paper towels. Transfer those golden potato pancakes to the oven until you’re ready to serve. The classic accompaniments are applesauce and sour cream. In addition to these, I like to make an apple chutney.

Apple Chutney

2 apples (Braeburns, Pink Ladies, or Honey Crisps work well), peeled cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 tsp. of mustard seed

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 cup apple cider

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Bring all of the ingredients to boil in a heavy saucepan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, uncovered, or until the apples are soft, but still retain their basic shape. Makes about 1 cup. Can be made 2 days ahead. Serve at room temperature.

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