— by Challah Maidel
Latkes, potato pancakes, are a quintessential traditional Hanukkah food made of shredded potatoes, eggs and bread crumbs or matzo meal.
Like most people I know, I like my latkes ultra-crunchy, perfectly salty, savory from the onion, lacy at the edges and soft in the middle. Traditionally, latkes are fried in oil, which symbolizes the miraculous Hanukkah story and gives them a crispy exterior texture.
I do not particularly fancy anything fried, though. I will indulge myself from time to time, but am not too enthusiastic about the mess and hassle that comes with frying, not to mention the emotional heartache that comes along with it. Oven-baked potato pancakes are a safer, healthier and less hassle alternative for me.
If you are looking for a traditional potato pancake recipe, you are out of luck: All I have for you is a multi-vegetable pancake recipe, which seems more exciting to me. Plus, people seldom complain about eating too many vegetables, and a couple extra never hurt anyone. Carrots and zucchini balance out the starchiness from the potatoes, which is why I included them. A dollop of low-fat sour cream, applesauce and smoked salmon adds a nice finishing touch.
Ingredients for about 24 medium-sized pancakes:
- 3 red potatoes, peeled and grated
- 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
- 2 zucchinis, grated
- 1 onion, peeled and grated
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup of matzo meal or bread crumbs (use gluten-free bread crumbs for a gluten-free version)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- Salt and pepper for taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- After grating the vegetables, drain excess water using paper towels.
- Transfer to a shallow bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Drop mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. (For mini-latkes, use a teaspoon.)
- Flatten with back of spoon, slightly, so that latkes will be cooked through.
- Brush each patty with oil or spray with cooking spray.
- Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes. Bottoms should be browned and crisp.
- Turn latkes over and bake for 8-10 more minutes. If you are worried about browning on the second side, give pan another “brushing” with a thin coat of oil, and then lay latkes back down. Keep an eye on the latkes as they bake to avoid overcooking.
- Serve right away, or store covered to reheat the next day at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.
Challah Maidel blogs about healthy kosher eating.