zucchini latkes

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 feature, pairing them with the wasabi cream topping, the suggested accompaniment for the sweet potato variety. Awesome, awesome. We skipped the caviar and whatnot 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.

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Zucchini Latkes

  • 1 pound zucchini (1 very large or 2 medium) zucchini
  • 3/4 pound russet or idaho potato (about 1 large), peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal or 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus additional wedges for serving
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying

Prepare the batter: Trim the ends of the zucchini and halve it lengthwise, then use a small spoon to scoop out and discard the seedy centers, which will add more moisture than we want. In a food processor or on the large holes of a box grater, grate the zucchini, potato, and onion. Gather the grated ingredients in a large lint-free kitchen towel and twist it, wringing out as much moisture as you can. Let rest for 2 minutes, then squeeze again. Transfer wrung-out mixture to a large bowl and add matzo meal, egg, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and stir until evenly mixed.

Cook the latkes: In a large skillet, heat 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high until shimmering. You can shape the latkes in one of two ways: In packed tablespoons or, as shown here, using a fork to twist the strands into a knot as you would twirl spaghetti on a fork. Carefully lower into the hot oil and cook until golden underneath. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden on the second side. Transfer to paper towels to blot excess oil then season with an extra sprinkle of salt. Repeat with remaining batter.

To serve: Serve warm with sour cream and wedges of lemon.

Do ahead: Latkes can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Reheat them on a baking sheet in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crisp. Latkes can also be frozen in an airtight container with layers of parchment paper between them for 1 month, then reheated from frozen until hot and crisped again.

first night

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36 comments on zucchini latkes

  1. deb

    No, no. You get regular latkes, and sweet potato if I muster the energy. (Not likely.) And something more chocolate-y than chocolate cake, if you can imagine.

  2. Hi!

    I just adore your blog – I have lurked for a while, but wanted to officially say hello. A formula of very engaging writing, a strong pinch or realism, amazing photos and food I would LOVE to eat makes it so entertaining. I am continually impressed.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Happy Hanukah! (Coming from the Jewish person who most fortunately remembered and then most unfortunately later in the evening, but before lighting the candles, forgot that it was hanukah…). Those latkas look lovely. I was always addicted to the box variety, until I started grating the onion into homemade ones. Now, nothing but homemade. Mmmmmm…. oh, I want some now. Are those flowers on the table in the back? ; ) Good luck with the rest of the cooking!

  4. Amy

    I am embarrassed to admit that not only have I never made latkes before, I have never eaten them before. However, they have always looked yummy to me, and I think I’ll try them for a little get together (tres casual) that I’m having next week. Salad, latkes and wine. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  5. I was stricken with jealousy at the sight of your latkes- gorgeous! I was relieved, when we sat down to dinner a few moments later, that my latkes tasted as good as yours looked!

    I think we have the same menorah. Happy Chanukah!

  6. ann

    Happy Hanukah Deb! May your holidays be wonderous and your New Year filled with light and happy days in the kitchen! (I’m buttering you up for a latke party invite in 2007, can’t you tell? ;-)

  7. oh these look amazing! happy hannukah to you and alex! i made traditional latkes for a few hungover folks yesterday afternoon and while it was in the ‘same-old’ category, they came out crispy and satisfying. will have to try the recipe above – as all things zucchini-related call to me!

  8. First time I’m looking at your blog and I had to post to say I think we have matching Menorah’s :) Funny. I got mine on sale a year or so ago at Pier 1.

    Chag Sameach.

  9. Becky

    Getting ready for my office Christmas party and dreaming of Chanukah. I tried to make Joan Nathan’s zucchini latkes once. They are similar to yours, but include an anaheim pepper for some extra zing. Mine fell apart (Joan Nathan assumed I knew I had to squeeze out the moisture in the grated potato and zucchini. Sad) but I am sure you will succeed!

  10. trudy

    I want to try making the latkes but instead of frying them, I would like to place them on a cookie sheet and bake them. I have sucess with a previous recipe but they were not as crispy.

  11. Lauren (UK)

    Just made these for tea and they were lovely, and very filling. Unsurprisingly, since I ate 6 large ones.

    I added sweet potato and some spring onion, as that’s what I had, and we ate them with sweet chilli sauce and yoghurt on the side. I think they’d go really well with the super-spicy yoghurt sauce you get at Indian takeaways over here (raita? not sure). Will make again – thanks Deb!

    P.S. Just re-read and realised that I should clarify that tea is the Northern-English equivalent of dinner/supper, rather than a refreshing hot beverage, in this case

  12. Heidi (Colorado)

    I made these for a party last night and everyone raved. I’m new to your blog and have been looking forward to every new entry. I had to add an extra egg to get it to stick – I weighed the ingredients so I don’t think I had more bulk, but maybe I didn’t squeeze out enough water?

  13. Trisha-Ann Shozuya

    I made this for dinner the other night and loved it!! I added my own touch…a little carmelized onions and garlic and some Parmesan Reggiano….heavenly!!

  14. Sara Jane

    I made this for my dinner last night. I subsituted Pamela’s (gluten free) Baking and Pancake Mix for the matzo in the same amount. Very good!! The use of the food processor makes it SO much easier!

  15. Lizzie

    I made the latkes bigger than suggested and only made 12, served them with poached egg, salad and soured cream and had them for dinner rather than starter. They were so good! (despite grating many of my fingers…time to invest in a food processor?)

  16. joy

    these are awesome in the summer, by the way. Olady iz kabachkov in Russian, which is where I learned to make them. Skip the potato and the lemon juice, add some chopped dill and a little feta if you’re so inclined, and use flour or bread crumbs instead of the matzo. And then if you are a good Russian like my husband Alex (the woods are full of them!), sour cream on top, and if you are me, Greek yogurt.

  17. Lorri

    I got potatoes and zucchini in my CSA basket this week and thought these would be a great use. I used flour since I was out of matzo meal. Topped with applesauce and absolutely delicious! Can’t wait wait to use thr rest of the zucchini to cook through your index!

  18. Dani

    Hi Deb, Going back to this post for a party I am throwing on Chanukah. I saw on your potato latkes that they could be made a day ahead and keep in the fridge. Do you think these would do similarly well? Thanks!

  19. Brittney

    Hi Deb,
    Would the latkas hold up ok if I froze them and then re-heated? I am hoping to make these this weekend for a party I am holding next week.

  20. Jay

    Just made these today with massive zukes from the CSA. Turned out great! I did not measure anything, but the difference was the lemon juice. Thanks Deb.

  21. Amy

    I took too much dill from my CSA share last week (apparently there is such a thing as too much dill!). I thought I was so clever by adding it to the recipe. Turns out, Joy had me beat. But, O-M-G! You MUST try this with dill-it’s simply divine. It was so good that I omitted the sour cream on top, which I thought would be impossible for a diaryaholic.

  22. I’m thinking of making these a day ahead of time and reheating. Have you ever frozen or refrigerated for 24 hours? Would you recommend making fresh day of? Thanks! You’re recipes and blog guide me in hosting great gatherings!

  23. Leska McCall

    Amazing! My crew inhaled these….I used stale random crackers from the bottom of the cracker box in place of the matzo (which I didn’t have), and some parmesan cheese. Also quadrupled it (as I had 7# of zucchini that I needed to get rid of….and a big fam with bottomless pit teen boy appetites)
    Served with herbed sour cream and cocktail sauce (teen boys….go figure…)
    Super good. Definitely merits a repeat.

  24. Kim

    this has become my daughters and my go to recipe each Hanukkah. We find we actually like them better if we make them ahead, freeze and reheat them. They are crisper that way and freeze very well. I also find with most latke recipes that the pan I choose will make or break. Has to be cast iron or a heavy nonstick.