Thursday, December 2, 2010

Potato Latkes for Hanukkah

Hanukkah is my favorite of the Jewish High Holidays. This is the holiday that we celebrate with my mom's family and it always means getting together with my family and catching up on the highlights of the year. Obviously getting little treats for 8 nights (scrunchies were a favorite in our house) was a big hit, but now I appreciate the festival of lights for it's devotion to all things fried. The story of Hanukkah goes something like this: There wasn't enough oil in the temple to keep the lamps blazing, but the people prayed and the lamps kept going all week. We celebrate this miracle by frying foods up in delicious oil and crunching away. This is the smartest way to commemorate any holiday that I can think of. Potato latkes are the most famous fried Hanukkah food and I made up a batch last night to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. Mark approved. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, I highly recommend frying up a batch of these latkes for your dinner table.

Potato Latkes for Hanukkah
3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
3 scallions
1 small onion
2 eggs
2/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying

1. Grate potatoes using a box grater. I don't bother to peel them because mostly the peels won't make it in anyway. Plus, it's super healthy with the peels :) I put the potato strings right into a big bowl of water so that they don't turn brown.
2. Grate the onion into a large bowl and crack in the eggs. Also, finely chop the scallions and add them to the bowl.
3. If you want nice, crispy latkes, you want to drain as much water as possible from the potatoes. I do this by draining the water and then dumping the potato stings into a clean kitchen towel and squeezing out the water.
4. Add the potatoes to the large bowl and mix well with the eggs, scallions and onion. Sprinkle over the flour and combine well.
5. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a frying pan (I use non-stick to make it easy on myself) on medium high heat. Drop in 1/4 cup patties of the potato mixture.
6. Cook until nicely browned on each side. This will take about 4-5 minutes per side, depending on how hot your oil is.
7. Remove the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil.
8. To keep them warm and crunchy, I put them on a foil-lined baking sheet and keep them in a warm oven until I am ready to serve them.
They are traditionally (and rightfully so) served with sour cream and applesauce. They are the perfect side dish for Hanukkah and I wish I made them more often during the year!

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