Tuesday, December 20, 2011

oily and miraculous

Doesn’t look like much, does it? Potatoes, an onion, an egg, some apples and a bit of juice?

But it’s the basis of such a simple, savoury holiday treat you’ll wonder why you don’t make these year round, the sublime Hanukkah latke.

It’s a kind of potato hashbrown with grated onion, salt and pepper and an egg to bind it all together.

Start with the apples, peeled and cored, in about ½” of cranberry juice. Bring it to a boil, cover it, turn the flame low and simmer it the entire time you are making the latkes. Homemade applesauce is amazing.

Now, prep the potatoes. Shred them (I like leaving the skins on) then wrap them in a paper towel and squeeze out every drop of liquid you can squeeze. Baking potatoes are high in starch and work best, but dry potato shreds are essential.

In a bowl add the squeezed potato, a few tablespoons of grated onion, a tablespoon of flour, an egg and a lot of salt and pepper. Too much salt is still not enough.

Mix it all well with a fork and begin to heat your oil in a flat skillet.

I added butter for the flavor, but this holiday is about “The Miracle of the Oil”, did you know that?

Get the oil/butter mix really, really hot then drop small balls of the potato mixture in carefully, flattening them with a spatula.

From Wikipedia:
“The Talmud, which is the good book of the Jewish faith, says that after the Temple had been won by the Maccabees from Antiochus IV Epiphanes, only a day’s worth of consecrated olive oil was left to fuel the eternal flame. 
Miraculously, it remained burning for eight days, 
which was just enough time to make more of the oil.”
Crisp the latkes brown on one side, flip them and keep frying while you mash the apples the same way you’d mash potatoes. Leave soft, hot apple lumps for authenticity.

Drain the latkes well on paper toweling, then plate them with the apple sauce on the side. Yum.

The eight days of miracle olive oil flame are celebrated in the eight candles of the menorah. But you need only about 20 minutes and a few tablespoons of oil.

One taste of these hot and crispy, oniony latkes dipped in the warm, sweet apple sauce and you’ll agree, it really is the Miracle of the Oil.
Happy Hanukkah!
Tuesday December 20- Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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