Ask An OC Chef: Best Latke Recipes For Hanukkah

December 3, 2014 4:00 AM

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Plate of Potato Latkes
(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


A latke may seem like a simple food item that is traditionally eaten to help sustain farmers through a workday. But it also has some symbolism for Hanukkah. The potato symbolizes a connection to the earth, and the oil in which the latkes are cooked represents the oil used to keep the menorah lit. Chef Cathy Garland of Lucca Cafe gives one traditional recipe and two very non-traditional recipes to try this Hanukkah season.
(credit: Lucca Cafe)

(credit: Lucca Cafe)


Chef Cathy Garland
Lucca Cafe
6507 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92603
(949) 725-1773
www.luccacafe.com

Chef Cathy Garland opened Lucca Cafe more than seven years ago. She is currently working on a new restaurant called Provenance, which will open in the near future.

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Traditional Latkes Ingredients:
-1 lb Russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
-1 large cage-free egg, beaten
-1 small onion, grated
-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
-Canola-olive oil blend (75% canola oil, 25% olive oil)
 
Directions:
 

  • Place the grated potatoes in a large mixing bowl and cover with water 1/2 inch above the potatoes.
  • Soak the potatoes for at least an hour.
  • Drain the potatoes very well.
  • Spread the potatoes and onion on a cheesecloth or towel, then wring out as much water as possible.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and stir in the egg and salt.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of oil at a moderately high heat in a non-stick skillet (a cast-iron skillet is recommended) until the oil is hot but not smoking.
  • Spoon two tablespoons of the potato mixture into the pan and spread them into three-inch rounds with a fork.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Cook the latkes until the undersides are brown (about five minutes).
  • Turn the latkes and cook until the undersides are brown.
  • Remove the latkes, and place them on a paper towel on top of a rack. (Latkes can be kept warm in a shallow dish in a 275-degree oven.)
  • Top the latkes as desired and serve.

Related: Best Cheese shops In Orange County

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Non-traditional Latkes Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp star anise, ground
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large cage-free eggs
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp butter

 
Directions:
 

  1. Place the carrots and apples in a cheesecloth or dish towel and wring out as much liquid as possible.
  2. Place the carrots and apples in a mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  3. In a small dish, combine the star anise, cinnamon, flower, sugar and baking powder; toss with the apples and carrots, coating them evenly.
  4. Whisk eggs together and stir into the apple-carrot mixture.
  5. In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter (new butter is needed for each batch of latkes).
  6. Drop spoonfuls of the apple batter into the hot butter and press them flat with a spatula.
  7. Fry until the undersides are brown, then flip with a spatula.
  8. Drain the latkes briefly on paper towels, and keep warm in a preheated oven

Recommended: serve these with Greek yogurt and maple syrup.

Beet-Sweet Potato Latkes Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb beets, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 cage-free eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 
Directions:
 

  1. Place the beets and sweet potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring out as much moisture as possible.
  2. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and stir in the eggs.
  3. Add the herbs and spices and stir until combined.
  4. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper.
  5. Heat 1/4 cup of oil at a moderately high heat in a non-stick skillet (a cast-iron skillet is recommended) until the oil is hot but not smoking.
  6. Spoon 2 Tbsp of the potato mixture into the pan and spread them into three-inch rounds with a fork.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium.
  8. Cook the latkes until the undersides are brown (about five minutes). Turn the latkes and cook until the undersides are brown.
  9. Remove the latkes and place them on a paper towel on top of a rack. (Latkes can be kept warm in a shallow dish in a 275-degree oven.)

Related: Passover Recipes From An Orange County Chef

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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