Tonight is the beginning of the Festival of Lights. And no, I’m not talking about the lighting ceremony your little town is putting on over a swaddled baby and some sweet goats. We’re talking about the miracle that gave birth to Hanukkah. Once Jerusalem was reclaimed, the Jewish rebels needed oil to rededicate the temple, but they could only find enough to last one night. The miracle, then, occurred on the following seven days when the oil continued to burn and continued to keep the menorah lit.
I know what you’re thinking: “So is it a miracle that McDonalds uses the same oil for eight days straight?” No, it is not. That’s a whole different set of miracles.
When Hanukkah rolls around each year it’s important to eat all the fried food. All of it. Don’t spare a single latke, fritter, or suganiyot (it’s just a doughnut, people). Food cooked in oil is just one amazing Hanukkah tradition. America might celebrate Christmas for twelve exhausting days, but given the style of cuisine, I’d say America celebrates Hanukkah twelve months a year. And that’s okay in my book.
Killer Potato Latkes
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 pounds baking potatoes
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup matzo meal
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Applesauce, crème fraîche, smoked salmon, salmon roe and dill sprigs, for serving
In a medium saucepan, cover the Yukon Gold potatoes with cool water, season generously with salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and immediately pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl.
Working quickly, peel and grate the baking potatoes on the large holes of a box grater into a medium bowl. Press with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Add half of the grated potatoes to the riced potatoes.
Transfer the remaining grated potatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion and pulse until the potatoes and onions are very finely chopped. Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and press with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the potato-onion mixture to the large bowl. Stir in the eggs, matzo meal, white pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Working in 3 batches, spoon 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the oil for each latke; press slightly to flatten. Fry over moderate heat, turning once, until the latkes are golden and crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes. Drain the latkes on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve with applesauce, crème fraîche, smoked salmon, salmon roe and dill.
Post by Ian Sims. Recipe from Food and Wine.