Monday, December 7, 2009

Baked Veggie Latkes

With Hanukkah just around the corner, it's high time that I post a good latke recipe. Latkes are a traditional Jewish potato pancake served on Hanukkah. Typically, they're made with grated potatoes, onions, matzoh meal and eggs. The mixture is fried in plenty of oil. The oil really is essential, because oil is so central to the Hanukkah story in which a tiny amount of oil miraculously lit the Temple menorah for 8 days. So, virtually everything for Hanukkah is fried.

Of course, we all know frying is not particularly healthy. So, how to get around this? Well, I say it's still a latke if oil is employed, but in lesser amounts. How much more in keeping with the story of Hanukkah would it be if, by some miracle, I could coax from a minute amount of oil something as delicious as a fried latke? I'll go one better! What a miracle it would be if I could use a tiny amount of oil to make latkes full of all kinds of good-for-you, seasonal veggies (that means no zucchini, folks) that kids would actually like!

Well, that miracle happened (yes, I know I'm tooting my own horn a bit too excessively here). I made these latkes (in bite size form) for my daughter's nursery school class's snack. I expected the batch to last for 2-3 days, but they lasted only one day (kind of a reverse Hanukkah miracle). The kids loved them, and apparently the teachers did, too, as I was asked for the recipe.

Happy holidays, everyone! Enjoy, but with a little less weight gain this holiday season.

Baked Veggie Latkes
6 Tbsps. safflower oil, divided
4-6 russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and grated
1 onion, grated
1 large carrot, shredded
1/2 bunch leafy greens (I used mustard greens), shredded
4-5 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbsps. potato starch
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F. On a cookie sheet with a rim (jelly roll pan), spread 2 Tbsps. of the oil evenly.

Place the grated potatoes and onion in a tea towel or cheese cloth. Squeeze the liquid out, and then empty the potato and onion into a large bowl. Add the carrot, greens, scallions, potato starch, and egg and combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon potato mixture onto the cookie sheet in small dollops, flattening each pancake. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Repeat with remaining batter (should be about 3 cookie sheets full). Best served hot with applesauce or sour cream for dipping.

Makes about 1.5 dozen full size latkes, or 4 dozen bite size latkes.

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