Makes 12 3-inch latkes
Pull out that cast iron pan, stockpile your potatoes and onions, arm yourself with oil. It’s latke time.
This month I’m knee-deep in them. After pouring through shelves of Jewish cookbooks over the years, testing countless recipes and swimming in oil every December, I think I’ve finally managed to master the perfect latke.
For the past decade or so, I’ve stuck with what works, a failproof formula that somehow manages to get raves every time. I have gradually made some minor tweaks to the recipe, adjusting the potato to onion ratio, adding zucchini, and honing the process down to a few steps. For you traditionalists, here is the recipe.
But if you’re willing to stretch a little this year, I have a new variation for your arsenal.
At first, my family protested. They scoffed when I presented them. But within minutes, the whole batch was gone.
Quinoa instead of potatoes? Why not? With more protein and fiber than a power bar and the savory crunch of a fritter, pass the quinoa latkes, please.
Typically, you squeeze a latke mixture to within an inch of its life in order to remove the excess liquid from the potatoes and onions. But in this case, the quinoa has none of its own moisture or starch. So I add some finely grated vegetables, which help hold the patties together and keep them juicy. If you prefer not to use eggs, you will need to add some other binder. I would suggest an egg substitute or ¼ cup of hummus, but let me know if you find something else that works.
Think of the quinoa latke like a blini or a base for bruschetta. Fun-size them for a perfect holiday hors d‘oeuvre. The topping options are endless: apple sauce, sour cream, smoked salmon, poached or fried egg, your favorite melted cheese, hummus, chutney, ratatouille, Greek yogurt or tzadziki, vegetable curry, barbeque sauce, tapenade, vegan mushroom paté, etc.
I’ve made three batches of these in three days. My teenage son pronounced, “Wait, I’m supposed to hate these. But they’re really good!” And I finally found a way to get the kids to love quinoa. I guess it really is the season for miracles.
3 cups cooked quinoa (use 1 part quinoa to 1 part water)
½ cup grated onion (about ½ medium onion)
½ cup finely grated vegetables (zucchini, carrot, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, cauliflower or any combo)
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup potato starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten well
Organic grapeseed oil
or unrefined organic coconut oil for frying (about 6 tablespoons)
1. In a large bowl, place the cooked quinoa, onion, grated vegetables, chives, potato starch and salt and pepper. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Add beaten eggs.
2. In an 8-inch cast-iron pan over a medium flame, heat about 1/8-inch of oil until sizzling. Have ready a plate covered with 2 layers of paper towels.
3. Using a ¼ cup, scoop the quinoa mixture and form patties about ¼-inch thick and 3 inches wide, pressing together tightly in your palms. Carefully place the patties into the hot oil (I use these kitchen gloves to avoid burning myself). Press them down with a spatula to flatten them out evenly, then cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes (the patties will firm up as they cook). When the edges are crisp and brown, flip the patties over and continue cooking the other sides until golden.
4. Remove each latke as it is ready and drain on paper towels. Serve warm.
Note: Once cooled, the latkes will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer.
Want to know what’s on the Farmgirl table this month? Here are a few of my favorite holiday recipes:
- Winter Tomato Soup
- Winter Chopped Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
- Roasted Brussels Sprout Chips with Truffle Salt and Lime
- Moroccan Vegetable and Tofu Stew
- Wild Mushroom and Potato Gratin
- Vegetable Tamale Pot Pie
- Date Coconut Walnut Balls
- Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters
- Dairy-free Chocolate Sesame Panna Cotta
- Dairy-free Pumpkin Pudding Gingersnap Pie
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