Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Scallion Latkes

Happy Chanukah, blogosphere! To celebrate the first night of the festival of lights, here is our latke recipe, with enough oil to light up your whole block. Some latke recipes use flour as a binder; ours uses the natural starch in the potatoes, so it's gluten-free. If you feel you need to add more binder, we suggest potato flour.

Because we'll be eating latkes a lot this week, it's important to mix it up and go beyond the traditional sour cream and applesauce topping options. We dolloped ours with guacamole and some Vicky Day's raspberry-red currant preserves (not in the same bite--our weird food combinations have limits). These preserves are made by our friend and guest blogger Honor's family with fruit grown on their farm in Vermont. So far I've only tried this flavor of preserves--the tart currants and the flavorful raspberries are delicious with latkes, atop a Camembert-slathered slice of bread, with peanut butter and plenty of other combinations I haven't yet tried (I want to make some rugelach before the jar runs out). Their preserves do have refined cane sugar, but they also make a blackcurrant maple syrup, with a sweet-tartness that I'm excited to try in a marinade or salad dressing.

And obviously, we served this with a side of brussels sprouts, stir-fried with Tokyo turnip tops...perhaps it's time to change our name to I Heart Brussels Sprouts.

The Essentials:

2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1 onion
4-6 scallions, minced
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup potato flour (optional)
hella peanut oil (we stopped keeping track, but you should have at least 1 cup on hand)

More Stuff to Throw In:

a small bunch chopped cilantro, chives or parsley
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon smoked spanish paprika
3 dried red chiles, minced well or ground roughly

Grate your potatoes and onion and place them in a cloth towel and wring out as much liquid as you can -- catch the liquid in a bowl. Let the potato juice sit for a few minutes, then pour the liquid from the bowl, saving the potato starch that has collected in the bottom. Write your initials in it with a fork. Well done.

Mix the potato starch, potatoes and onions with the rest of the ingredients, except the oil. Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat with about two tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot (but never smoking) add spoonfuls of batter, pressing them flat with your spoon. When the bottom is crispy and brown, flip to the other side and fry until golden. Refresh the peanut oil as needed, usually before each new batch. (Don't even try to use olive oil or another low-heat but healthy-sounding alternative. You'll be sorry when the smoke alarm goes off.) Drain on brown paper bags or paper towels.

Serves about 5 moderately hungry people, if you don't eat them all before dinner.

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