Fry, baby

With Hanukkah comes fried foods. I’m all for it. It reminds us of the importance of oil and the care you have to take with it, but also gives us a way to fry new things.

Potato lakes are one of my favorite dishes. It’s a shame most of us only eat them once a year. This year I’ll be making the usual ones with a recipe based on one from a dear friend. I’ve also created a few variations using different vegetables — and in one case adding cheese. As we head into the high point of holiday entertaining, consider these recipes for appetizers and brunch. Of course, I love them just as a side dish to roasted chicken or roast beef as well.

A few tips on clean-up:

. Dispose of your vegetable peels. New generation garbage disposers, such as the ones from InSinkErator, can grind the peels. Just put them down a little at a time with cold water running.

. Keep your oil clean. Use canola oil because of its high smoke point. Skim away any vegetable bits left in the oil after cooking each batch.

. Freeze, reheat. All of these latkes can be stored in the freezer then reheated in at 400 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes (turn over once).

. To top. Latkes are traditionally served with sour cream and applesauce — which work great with each of these recipes, too.

Potato latkePERFECT POTATO LATKES

Makes about 12 latkes

This recipe is based on one from Miriam Morgan, a dear friend and one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with. The secret is soaking the potatoes to remove the excess starch.

3 or 4 large baking potatoes

1/2 cup finely grated onion

3 large eggs, beaten to blend

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 to 4 tablespoons flour plus additional as needed

Canola oil for frying

Peel the potatoes. Grate potatoes into a bowl (you should have about 4 cups). Add enough water to cover. Let stand at least 15 minutes or up to an hour. Drain. Squeeze out as much water as possible.

Combine the potatoes with onion, eggs, salt, pepper, baking powder and 2 tablespoons flour. Add more flour if the mixture still seems too wet.

Pour enough oil into a heavy large skillet to reach a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Heat over medium heat. When hot but not smoking, drop the potato mixture by spoonfuls into the oil, flattening each into a thin pancake. Cook until deep golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more flour if batter becomes too wet.

Spinach latkeSPINACH AND RICOTTA LATKES

Makes 10 to 12 latkes

This recipe is based on one from Homemade With Love by Jennifer Perillo (one of my favorite cookbooks). The addition of Parmesan and ricotta cheese make these special enough to serve as an appetizer at a fancy dinner party. You may want to make these a little smaller because they’re so rich.

2 cups stemmed fresh spinach leaves

Salt

1 large baking potato, peeled

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons flour

Pinch of nutmeg

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Canola oil for frying

Place a small amount of water in a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spinach and a bit of salt. Cook just until wilted. Drain. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Chop spinach.

Grate potato into a large bowl. Add enough water to cover. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain. Squeeze out as much water as possible.

Whisk spinach, ricotta, egg, Parmesan and flour in a large bowl. Add nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in potatoes.

Pour 1/4 to 1/2-inch oil into a heavy large skillet. Heat over medium heat. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into hot oil, spreading to a thin pancake. Cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes a side. Transfer latkes to paper towels to drain.

Sweet potato latkeSWEET POTATO LATKES

Makes 12 to 16 latkes

Sweet potatoes don’t contain as much starch as baking potatoes so they don’t have to be soaked.

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, grated

2 green onions, finely chopped

1/4 cup flour

2 large eggs, beaten to blend

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Canola oil for frying

Combine sweet potatoes, green onions, flour, eggs and salt in a large bowl.

Pour enough oil into a heavy large skillet to reach a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Heat over medium heat. Drop batter by generous spoonfuls into hot oil, flattening into a thin pancake. Cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes a side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.



Categories: Recipes

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1 reply

  1. These sound delicious. Have never made latkes from scratch but think it’s time to try!

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