21 December 2008

Of Latkes and Light

Yesterday I was awakened to the exceptionally familiar sound of a car whirring it's tires in order to get out of it's snowy spot. Even though I was comfortably nestled in bed, I had the urge to lean out of the window and scream that you have to shovel out the back tires if you want to get anywhere. I refrained. (Most people here don't have car shovels, anyway, so it would have been a moot point.)

I have also refrained from pelting the storefronts that have declined to shovel their walkways with the ensuing slush/ice/snow mixture that they leave there so nonchalantly, forcing us pedestrians have to navigate with what I like to call the "Midwestern Waddle" heel-toe-heel-toe, lean a little one way, lean a little the other, do your best to imitate a penguin, since they are the animals that actually live on the ice and don't slip nearly as much as their human counterparts.

Fin bref: Snow has arrived! We are already leaps and bounds ahead of last year (a good 1/2 inch at most), and just in time for Hanukkah. A good time to celebrate the light, now that we've nearly arrived at the winter solstice (which, doesn't fall, ahem, ahem, until tomorrow). And tonight we did so with subdued gusto--the first night of Menorah and latkes. Latkes! Much like hash browns. But small. And compact. And tasty! But because they make my house smell like oil, they're a once-a-year treat. No more, no less.

Over the past couple of years, Jeff and I have tried a bunch of different recipes, and this one always comes out right. (Also, I usually make a half recipe for Jeff and me, since there's really no reason to make a very large batch unless you have a lot of people around.) Not too eggy (which I cannot even stand), not to heavy, these bridge the gap between hash browns and egg, onion and potato patties. And it doesn't have that funky matzo meal grainy texture/taste that seems to be prevalent in so many versions. I suggest incorporating these into your midwinter tradition, too. Because you won't regret it.

And may your days be filled with light.

Crispy Potato Latkes, adapted from Food and Wine

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
2 medium onions
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
vegetable oil, for frying

1. Using a food processor or a box grater, coarsely shred the potatoes and onions. Transfer them to a colander and squeeze dry. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes and onions with the eggs, flour, and salt.
2. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering, pressing lightly to flatten them. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 5 minutes (the first batch takes a little longer). Reduce the heat if the latkes brown too quickly. Drain the latkes on paper towels and serve right away.

Jeff eats these with heated applesauce.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Those sound really good. Sort of remind me of potato pancakes that were hugely popular in Alsace.