We’ve got a yummy take on this traditional Hanukkah treat from River and Woods restaurant in Boulder.
Hannukah gelt, the chocolate gold coins you get playing dreidel, are good, but the potato latkes you eat during the Jewish Festival of Lights are delicious. This year, Hanukkah — which commemorates the dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and reminds Jews of the miracle of a small quantity of oil miraculously lasting eight days to keep the temple’s menorah lit — is celebrated December 10 – 18.
But you don’t have to wait till Hanukkah to enjoy latkes.
This recipe for Root Vegetable Latkes comes from River and Woods in Boulder. The recipe is one of 40 from Boulder County restaurants included in the cookbook A Bite of Boulder; released in November, the cookbook benefits the participating eateries.
This recipe calls for topping with artisanal apple butter and crème fraîche. We’re also fans of potato latkes topped with sour cream and applesauce (super-easy). Bon Appetit suggests some gourmet topping ideas here.
Root Vegetable Latkes
Makes about 20 3-inch-wide latkes
4 medium Cure Farm red potatoes*
1 medium sweet onion, halved through the root and peeled
1 small Cure Farm red beet, peeled*
½ small Starling Farm zucchini/summer squash, trimmed*
½ small Starling Farm fennel bulb, cored*
½ small sweet potato, peeled
2 tablespoons sea salt, (add more to taste)
Grapeseed or rice bran oil, for frying
2 large local pastured eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon organic all-purpose flour
Ela Family Farms Western Slope Apple butter (or your favorite brand)
*You can use good quality produce from the store, farmers market, or other artisanal purveyors.
Set a large colander over a large bowl. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the potatoes, onion, beet, zucchini, fennel, and sweet potato into the colander.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt over the grated vegetables; mix with your hands until the salt dissolves. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, squeezing the vegetables once or twice to remove liquid.
Meanwhile, add enough oil to a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, to measure ¼ inch deep. Heat over medium-high until a vegetable strand or two dropped into the oil sizzles vigorously, about 350 degrees.
Heat the oven to 150 degrees and put a paper-towel-lined, rimmed baking sheet on the center rack.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large piece of cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can; discard the liquid. You want to drain the latke [veggies], twice squeezed if needed so all can bind.
Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and, using your hands, add the eggs and Herbes de Provence; mix to combine. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the mixture and gently mix by hand until combined.
Slowly lower a heaping tablespoonful of the latke mixture into the oil, immediately pressing down on the center of each with the back of the measuring spoon to form a relatively flat 3-inch-wide pancake; the edges will be lacier and thinner than the centers.
Fry in batches, flipping once, until each latke is deep golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the latkes to the sheet in the oven, sprinkling each with a tiny pinch of salt. Repeat.
Serve the latkes with apple butter and crème fraiche.
Recipe courtesy executive chef-owner Daniel Asher.
River and Woods: 2328 Pearl St., Boulder, Colorado, 303.993.6301.
Photography: Images courtesy Christina Kiffney, Jennifer Bridge Photography