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.
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.