Hanukkah is here and of course that means latkes. No, I am not Jewish but my family background is European and growing up my Grandma made incredible potato pancakes at least once a week. Crispy, crunchy, onion-studded grated fried potatoes, served with sour cream and applesauce – what’s not to like?
Over the years my love affair with latkes has waned because I am not a fan of frying in oodles of oil. But since so many of my friends and clients observe the Festival of Light at this time of year, I was inspired to find a recipe that still tasted great but was prepared with less cooking oil. Yes, I do know that oil is at the core of the Hanukkah story and that cooking food in oil is symbolic of the miracle that occurred when the lights of the Temple were kept burning for 8 days with only one day’s worth of oil. But like many holiday traditions that are modernized to fit today’s lifestyle, the meaning of the latkes can still be sustained even when the calories and heavy frying are replaced. I think the bigger questions is: can we find a recipe that will sustain the deliciousness too?
I looked at a lot of recipes for baked latkes and picked one from Slashfood.com that came recommended to me. However, I made a few alterations to it – including shifting the regular flour to a gluten-free option – and I think the outcome is stellar! It may not be my Gram’s beautifully fried pancakes or what is traditional at your Hanukkah table but these oven-baked options are amazingly crispy and a credible salute to the season.
Makes 12-15 latkes
- 2 medium to large potatoes ( when grated 2-3 cups)
- 1/2 cup grated sweet onion
- 5 scallions finely chopped
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tablespoons brown rice flour
- 2 Tbsp oil – for brushing top of latkes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scrub potatoes well and grate with skins on. Use a box grater, spiralizer or food processor, but be careful not to process too finely.
Grate sweet onion and finely chop scallions.
Place potatoes and onions in a fine mesh sieve and press down firmly to remove excess water. Stir and repeat until most liquid is gone. Place mixture on clean kitchen towel and squeeze again to further dry mixture.
Place potato-onion mixture in a bowl and add egg, baking powder, salt and flour. Stir well.
Drop mixture (about 2 Tbsp for each) on baking sheet forming 2-3 inch pancakes that are about 1/4 inch thick. You’ll want to flatten them slightly so they have that pancake look.
Bake for 15 minute, then brush top lightly with oil and bake another 5 minutes. Flip over, brush with oil and bake another 10 -15 minutes or until latkes are a deep golden and crispy.
Serve with applesauce or 1 cup Greek yogurt with the zest of 1 orange and 1/4 cup chopped dill stirred in.