Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Latkes Recipe, Made in New Jersey

Here is an all-New Jersey applesauce recipe for your latkes and beyond, followed by a Mediterranean take on latkes. Happy Hanukkah!

Apple Sauce
4 New Jersey apples
1/2 cup New Jersey cranberries
Water or cranberry juice
¼-½ cup sugar
Lemon juice

Peel, core, and dice apples. Put into saucepan with cranberries and about ¾ cups water or cranberry juice. Add sugar. Boil gently until the apples are soft but not falling apart. Drain liquid. Use potato masher to gently squish apples. Finish with a little lemon juice.

Feta-Spinach Latkes
1 russet potato, coarsly grated
1 Yukon gold potato, coarsly grated
3 handfuls baby spinach, chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup minced fresh herbs (dill, mint, and oregano are my favorites to use here)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 scallions, minced
⅓ cup all purpose flour
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, spinach, feta, herbs, eggs, and scallions. Stir to mix well. Then sprinkle in the flour until it all is incorporated and holding together.

Fill an 8-to-10-inch skillet with ¼-inch deep oil. Heat on a medium-high heat. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the hot oil and flatten it with the back of the spoon. The oil should reach about half the height of the center of the latke. The edges should be submerged. Repeat until the pan skillet is filled but there is about a ½-inch gap between the latkes.

Cook the latkes until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown. Transfer to a flat plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot with yogurt sauce (recipe below).

Note: If you are planning to serve the latkes immediately, keep them in one layer until serving (you can place them in a warm-250°-oven). If you are planning to serve them later, cool completely and keep in a tightly covered container in the fridge, layers separated with paper towels. To heat them up, place in one layer on a baking sheet in a 350° oven until warm and crisp.

Yogurt Sauce
When using garlic in raw preparations, you might want to to pound it into a paste rather than chop it. I find it just tastes better that way.

1 clove garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped mint or parsley
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half of a large lemon
1 cup whole yogurt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Pound the salt and garlic into a paste using a tablespoon (or a mortar and pestle, if you have it). Add the chopped herbs, the olive oil and the lemon juice, and mix.
Just before serving, mix in the yogurt and optional walnuts and correct seasoning with salt and lemon (the flavors should be bright and strong). Serve with the spinach-feta latkes.

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