…thanks folks, I’ll be here all night. Try the veal.
Weak title, right? Well the title may be weak, but my latkes are strong. Strong like a Maccabee!
What’s a Maccabee you ask? The Maccabees were warriors who defeated the Greeks and kicked them out of Judea. However, during Greek rule the Temple, the holiest of places for Jews, was desecrated by the Greeks. After the Greeks were sent packing, the Jews took to cleaning the temple and rededicating it. After the clean up was done, the Jews wanted to light the Temple’s Ner Tamid, eternal light, which acts as “a symbol of God’s eternal and imminent presence in our communities and in our lives,” but found that they only had enough oil for one day. They lit the Ner Tamid and miraculously the oil lasted for 8 days. That’s why Chanukah is celebrated for 8 nights.
Chanukah is not a particularly big or important holiday and has really just been played up by the same marketers who’ve done so much to commercialize Christmas. Chanukah has little religious significance and is more of a kids holiday. We don’t go to synagogue on this holiday unless it’s for a party! We do light Menorahs at home and eat foods fried in oil.
Yup, a holiday that consists of going to parties, lighting candles and eating fried foods… a little bit you wish you were Jewish right now, no?
The eating of fried foods represents the
Jewish people’s love of food and lots of it miraculous oil that burned for 8 days. In Israel they eat fried jelly donuts called sufganyiot, but in America it’s all about latkes, fried potato pancakes.
So in honor of the miracle of Chanukah here’s my latke recipe. Happy Chanukah!
- 5-6 medium yukon gold potatoes; peeled
- 1 medium onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs; lightly beaten
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1/2 cup cornflakes; crushed by hand (I recommend Erewon brand)
- A whole lot of olive oil
Cut half the potatoes and the onion in to rough chunks and puree in food processor.
Grate the other half of the potatoes on a box grater and mix in with the onion and potato mix.*
Working in batches places some of the potato mixture in to a tea towel and squeeze out as much water as possible (this step is very important!) and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Mix in salt, eggs and chives, then mix in crushed cornflakes and stir until just combined.
Heat about an inch of oil in a deep frying pan.
Scoop up some potato mixture by hand and form into a circle, maybe 3 inches in diameter. Working in batches carefully lay the latkes in the frying pan. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes and then flip and repeat on the other side.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve with sour cream on the side.**
Yields 12-14 latkes
*Back in the day latkes were always made by grating the potatoes, but today they’re often done in blenders of food processors. You could definitely just do one or the other in this recipe, but I like the texture you get from combining the two.
**The other traditional accompaniment to latkes other than sour cream is applesauce. Since I’m allergic to apples I’ve never tried it that way, but if you can eat apples you may want to serve that alongside your latkes too.
***I made these last night to bring to a friends house so I don’t have a picture of them on a plate with a nice dollop of sour cream. Use your imagination.