Potato and Carrot Latkes
Traditionally made and served during Hanukkah, latkes are small, savory pancakes made from a base of potatoes, and often incorporating other vegetables. I added carrots for a hint of sweetness and burst of color. Heirloom carrots, in red, purple and yellow, are gorgeous in this recipe.
The secret to a light, crispy texture: squeeze out as much water as possible before frying; wet vegetables mean mushy latkes—no good! So squeeze vigorously, and get those potatoes, carrots and parsnips as dry as possible. Other tips for maximum crispiness: use high-starch russet potatoes, and never, ever crowd the pan.
Without being too irreverent, you can try variations: add Indian curry and serve them with raita (yogurt, chopped cilantro and cucumber) or cook them in a small waffle iron and serve with mango chutney; use purple potatoes and serve with a honey-vanilla creme fraiche, or try red potatoes, leave the skins on, and servec with caviar and sour cream.
Remember, though, that a perfect latke stands on its own, with the simplest of toppings. So we serve ours the traditional way: light, crispy, hot, served with applesauce (homemade) and creme fraiche or sour cream and chives. Anything else is gilding the lily.
Serves 4 (makes 12 latkes)
1 pound russet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 pound carrots, scrubbed and coarsely grated
1 small yellow onion, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup matzo meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Canola or other neutral cooking oil for frying
Minced chives or scallion greens(optional)
Applesauce for serving
Sour cream or crème fraiche
- Line a large platter with several layers of paper towels; set aside.
- Combine grated potatoes, carrots and onions in a lint-free kitchen towel. Twist the towel to squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer vegetables to a second towel and repeat the process. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs, then stir in matzo meal, salt and pepper. Add potatoes, carrots and onions.
- Heat 1/4 inch of oil oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop four scoops of batter, about 1/4 cup each, into pan. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, pressing down gently with a spatula, until golden and crispy. Turn and cook on remaining side for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer latkes to paper-towel lined sheet to drain and repeat with remaining batter. Add additional oil to pan if needed, allowing it to heat again before frying more latkes.
- To serve, arrange latkes on a large serving platter. Garnish with chives or scallions, if desired, and serve hot, with applesauce and sour cream or creme fraiche.