Batter Licker

January 23, 2012

zucchini, onion and potato latkes with chive sour cream

Too late for latkes now that Chanukah is about a month behind us? Nonsense! That would be like saying it’s too late for baked potatoes – or soup.

Seeing as frigid, rainy winter weather is just starting to renew itself after a dry heat spell here in San Francisco, I can’t believe any of those could possibly be out of season just yet.

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New Year resolution-makers might huff and puff a bit about the pan-fried in oil factor. But if the oil is hot enough, these veggie-laden pancakes will not absorb ridiculous amounts of oil. Instead, they’ll do exactly what makes them so irresistible: crisp up on the outside, and cook just enough on the inside.

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And in case you’re wondering … no, zucchini is not a traditional element of latkes, but I try to slip green veggies in wherever possible these days – for added color, flavor and healthfulness.

Besides, I drank the zucchini cake Kool-Aid years ago when I first indulged in Kokkari’s cucumber and mint yogurt-dressed, goat cheese-stuffed delights.

Yes, I have a recipe for them, but after a few less-than-stellar attempts, it’s still a work in progress. I hope my patience will be rewarded, eventually.

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In the meantime (and while I’m still a bit sore-throaty and phlegmy from last week’s cold), this tasty, dairy-free, potato-onion-zucchini trio will do just fine. I even enjoyed them re-heated in the oven for a few days after the initial frying. So there.

Zucchini, Onion and Potato Latkes
Serves 6 to 8

Note: most latke recipes require you to peel the potatoes. I skipped over that, as it’s a bit fussy and the skins contain a lot of nutrients, and I didn’t have any problematic results. However, if you’re using russet potatoes instead of Yukon gold, peeling may be a bit more worthwhile, given the thicker skin. Up to you.

1 1/2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes (about 3-4 potatoes)
1 zucchini
1/2 large yellow onion
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 bunch, green onions, divided (green part only, chopped; reserve rest for another use)
1 egg
3 Tbsp. flour (all purpose, chickpea, whatever you have!)
2 c. panko bread crumbs
1 c. sour cream
1 c. canola oil

Line one baking sheet with foil and a second baking sheet with paper towels.

Grate potato, zucchini, and yellow onion in food processor or by hand, medium-coarse. Pour grated veggies into bowl. Add salt, pepper and 1/4 of the chopped green ends of the green onions. Push veggies aside to create a little pocket of space on the bottom of the bowl, and whisk egg until frothy. Stir flour into egg until well incorporated. Mix flour-egg mixture well with grated veggies. Form small patties (about 3 inches in diameter, maybe 1/2 an inch thick), and gently coat both sides of each patty with panko. Transfer patties to foil-lined baking sheet.

In a separate, small bowl, mix sour cream and remaining 3/4 of chopped green onions until well blended. Do ahead: Store in airtight, refrigerated container for up to 3 days.

Using a large skillet, heat oil (oil should cover the bottom of skillet and go half way up the sides of the patties). Test first by dropping a teaspoon of latke mixture into the hot oil. Test patty should quickly fry but not so hot it burns. As mentioned in the post, it’s important to get the oil to the right frying temperature so the potatoes fry to crispy perfection on the outside but stay soft yet cooked on the inside of the patty. Fry the formed patties, flipping a few minutes in once the downward-facing side has turned golden brown. Transfer fried patties out of pan and onto paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain off some of the remaining oil. Repeat for the rest of the latkes.

Once latkes are cooked, serve hot immediately (or reheat, if needed, for a few minutes in 350F oven on foil-lined baking sheet) with cold sour cream and chive mixture. Of course, depending on your preference, you can also pair the latkes with plain sour cream, apple sauce, or a combination.

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