Saturday, December 16, 2006

zucchini latkes

zucchini latkes, wasabi sour cream

Despite the fact that it takes some kind of crazy to cook a separate meal while embedded in preparing a multi-course meal for a dinner party, yet another night of take-out — even from my beloved Kitchen Market — seemed unbearable last night, and seeing as it was the first night of Hanukah, it was only appropriate to make a batch of latkes. But tradition is so boring, isn’t it? Thank goodness for Food & Wine’s deliriously enticing latke-vodka party (this is the second year in a row I am kicking myself for not having one — 2007 Deb, get on that!), pairing them with the wasabi cream topping, the suggested accompaniment for the sweet potato variety. Awesome, awesome. We skipped the caviar and what-not on top as only one of us would have loved that and it was not the person standing over the stove, tra-la-la. It all went perfectly with a lightly-dressed napa cabbage salad and, you betcha, a hefty glass of wine.

And now, the kitchen yet again beckons. Soup! Tarts! Salad! Cheater’s creme anglaise! Those croutons aren’t going to toast themselves, lady.

first night
zucchini latkes, apple sauce

Zucchini Latkes
Adapted from Food & Wine

Psst: These days I like these Zucchini Fritters even more.

Makes about 4 dozen 1 1/2-inch latkes

1 pound medium zucchini
1 large baking potato (3/4 pound), peeled
1 small onion (4 ounces), peeled
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying

Halve the zucchini crosswise. Cut the zucchini flesh off the seedy center and coarsely grate it in a food processor. Or grate it on a box grater until you reach the seedy center. Discard the center. In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely grate the potato and onion. Transfer the grated zucchini, potato and onion to a colander and squeeze dry. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze again. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add the matzo meal, egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the zucchini mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

Do ahead: The fried latkes can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Reheat them on a dark baking sheet in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crisp.


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