Monday, November 15, 2010

Potato-Scallion Latkes

Quick story:

Last year, during Hannukkah, Kevin innocently suggested we make latkes one night. Well, I took it upon myself to make latkes from scratch. Let me clarify - I made them without a Cuisinart. Let me clarify (again) - I made them by shredding 2 pounds of potatoes by hand. It was very challenging, very messy, and not worth it. The reviews of my "made from scratch latkes?" Not so good. I believe the words, "bland, eggy, tasteless, unseasoned, and falling apart," were among the expressions used at dinner that night. I vowed never to make an attempt at latkes, again.

Fast forward to tonight, when I was making lentil soup, and thinking about what might be tasty as a side dish. I had a bag of potatoes, some leftover scallions, and a brand spankin' new Cuisinart sitting around, so I made the executive decision to break my vow, and give it another try. I am so glad I did. This recipe makes 12, delicious potato pancakes. They taste so flavorful, with a perfect blend of green onion, salt, and potatoes. There was no need for applesauce, either! These are a definite keeper - I would make them for a Chanukkah party, in a heartbeat. I am always looking for an alternative for the run of the mill, frozen latkes in the grocery store, and I think this is it.

Anyway, I learned several things tonight, about making latkes. If you ever have the desire to try your hand at making them, you might want to read my tips first. Otherwise, you will be faced with a very tedious project. Okay... Here goes...

1. Do NOT attempt latkes, without a Cuisinart or other food processor. It isn't worth the trouble or scraped knuckles.

2. You MUST do an excellent job, squeezing the liquid out of the latkes. Otherwise, they fall apart. Seriously. Do a good job. It will be worth it.

3. You do not need to deep fry latkes, but they are perfectly tasty, pan fried in just a bit of olive oil. My recipe from last year was baked, not fried. Um, latkes are fried. They just are. Period.

4. Don't rush the latkes. They take as much time as they take. If you rush them, and take them off the stove before their allotted "5 minutes per side," they will be undercooked, and under-golden browned. Stop rushing the latkes!

5. I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but do NOT, under any circumstances, make these without a Cuisinart.

6. Making latkes is messy. Suck it up and do your dishes. It's not that big a deal.

Make these. They are really good. Kevin gave my second batch 4 stars, but only after I rushed the first batch (thus, they were undercooked).

Potato-Scallion Latkes

Latkes are a classic Hanukkah dish. The patties are cooked in oil, symbolizing the small amount of oil in a temple lamp that burned for eight days, the miracle the holiday commemorates. Garnish with extra green onions.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 patties)

4 1/2 cups shredded peeled baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Combine potato and onions; squeeze moisture from potato mixture over a sieve. Combine potato mixture, flour, salt, and egg whites in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions, and squeeze out any remaining liquid. Discard liquid. Shape each portion into a 1/4-inch-thick patty.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 6 patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 6 patties.

CALORIES 157 (27% from fat); FAT 4.7g (sat 0.7g,mono 3.3g,poly 0.5g); IRON 0.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 13mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.8g; SODIUM 321mg; PROTEIN 3.7g; FIBER 1.9g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2007

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