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Turn your Hanukkah dinner into a latke party. Latkes are often served as a side dish, which in my opinion is a mistake. By the time they get to the table, they are cold and ready for dead. Latkes are the emblem of Hanukkah and should be served when they are at their best: right out of the pan! Invite everyone into the kitchen to either participate in the making of them, or simply the eating of them. By the time you all get to the dinner table, everyone will be in great spirits.

What makes these latkes so good is that they are not filled with too much egg and flour, which would make them taste like they came out of the freezer section. These will be crunchy and juicy.

Some people ask if it is healthy to fry in olive oil? The answer: it’s not healthy to fry at all! I fry once a year- these latkes- and I would use nothing other than the best tasting oil on the planet: extra-virgin olive.

Latkes

Makes about 35 dollar-size latkes.

Ingredients
2 pounds russet baking potatoes, unpeeled
1 large onion, peeled
1 leek
2 tablespoons potato starch
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil for frying—about a cup

Method

  1. Grate potatoes with skin on on large holes of grater into a large bowl. (Using a food processor will not create the same texture and hence, flavor!)

  2. Grate onion on small holes of grater.

  3. Remove outer layer of leek and grate the white part only.

  4. Add the potato starch, egg, salt and pepper and mix with hands.

  5. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes.

  1. Add olive oil to cover, about 1/4 cup at a time, and let it get very hot. (test by dropping in a piece of potato, if its sizzles and browns easily, the oil is ready for you. )

  2. Pick up a tablespoon size of potato mixture. Squeeze between your hands to flatten and release the water.

  3. Place in oil and fry until deep golden brown on each side.

  4. Place on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately, with apple sauce if desired. 

Elana Horwich teaches cooking classes in Beverly Hills, CA. For more information and a link to her blog, go to mealandaspiel.com. These recipes are printed with the permission of the Jewish Journal. Image courtesy of Elana Horwich.