Thursday, December 22, 2011

Healthy Holidays: Oven-Baked Purple Latkes

Every year, when it gets close to Hanukkah, I start  fretting over frying. As tradition demands, hot oil is the most important reminder of the miracle of Hanukkah. And what a wonderful excuse to indulge in sufganiots (donuts) and latkes (potato pancakes). Eating them, I mean. But not preparing them...

My personal belief as a cook is that deep-frying is exactly what I don't aim for, and many times I substituted the process by a little trick, called baking and broiling. This has been the case for some recipes already tested here with success such as mini kibbeh, made possible because of this little kitchen miracle, the oil mister.

So, if celebrating the eight nights of Hanukkah — we are today lighting the third candle — this is a very tasty bite. It might be the ideal company for soup, for good conversation with friends, or just a cause for celebration. Happy healthy Hannukah!

Oven-Baked Purple Latkes

After reading many recipes and ideas on preparing potatoes for latkes, I came across this very good one: Use a salad spinner to get rid of water and starch from the potatoes. That will guarantee the crunchiness of the final product.

8 medium purple potatoes (or 4 large ones), grated (no need to peel if they are organic), or about 4 cups grated potatoes
1/2 purple onion, grated
3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup matzoh meal or flour, add more if mix is runny
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
White pepper, ground
Extra-virgin olive oil spray, or in a mister

Grate potatoes, transfer to a salad spinner, and spin about 6 times to get rid of the water and starch from the potato.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with heavy aluminum foil. Let potatoes drain for about 15 minutes in the salad spinner basket while the oven gets hot.

Beat eggs and matzo meal and add to the potatoes in a bowl, and then add grated onions. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and freshly ground white pepper. If you feel the mix is too runny, add more matzo meal or flour: You want to get a fluffy moist mix, not runny but not dry.

Spray olive oil on the foil-lined sheet. With a soup spoon, splash latkes over the sheet, leaving a 1/4-inch space between each.

Bake for 20 minutes on the top rack of oven. Broil for two minutes. Serve hot with your favorite recipe for applesauce.

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