November 29, 2007
The secret of potato latkes
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(Page 2 - Previous Page)Low-Fat Version: As we all know, we eat latkes at Chanukah to commemorate the miracle of the rededication of the Temple, when a single cruse of oil burned for eight days, so we celebrate this significant event in our history by consuming eight days' worth of oil in one sitting! Where's the miracle in that? Wouldn't it be more in the spirit of Chanukah to use a tiny drop of oil and feed crispy latkes to eight hungry people? Here's how: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a baking sheet (not nonstick) generously with vegetable cooking spray.
Prepare the batter as described, and "fry" the latkes in a nonstick skillet coated with vegetable cooking spray. They will be limp as dishrags, but here's the trick: After they are "fried," dip each pancake in beaten egg white. Place the egg-white-coated latkes on the prepared baking sheet and bake until crisp on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Now, that's a miracle!
Giant Stuffed Potato Latke Galette With Wild Mushrooms
From Judy Bart Kancigor
Inspired by a stuffed potato galette I found in Roy Finamore's "One Potato, Two Potato," I devised this recipe by enclosing stir-fried wild mushrooms in a crispy potato pancake for a Chanukah latke with attitude. It is a little tricky to turn, however. That's why I suggest browning it briefly on one side and then baking it. Depending upon your oven, you may not need to brown the other side after it has baked.
Makes eight servings.
For the Mushroom Filling:
About 2 tablespoons olive oil (see Notes)
About 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
8 ounces (total) of 3 or more varieties of mushroom, such as shiitake, portobello, oyster, chanterelle, cremini, and/or porcini, cleaned and sliced (see Notes)
1/2 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
For the Galette:
12 ounces large red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled
1/2 medium-size onion
2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grated nutmeg to taste
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Prepare the filling: Heat the olive and sesame oils in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook until they are tender and the juices have been released, about 5 minutes. (Do not crowd, or the mushrooms will steam and not brown.) If using portobellos, cook them by themselves for about 7 minutes before adding the other mushrooms. If using oyster mushrooms, cook them by themselves for about 3 minutes. Spread the cooked mushrooms out on a platter or baking sheet, rather than piling them in a bowl -- again, so they do not steam --and set them aside.
2. Fill a medium-size saucepan with cold water, add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Then drain the potatoes, place them in a bowl, cover with cold water and drain again. Cover with cold water again and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry.
3. Using a box grater, shred the potatoes (with skins on) on the large holes. If you do not turn the potato as you are grating, you will be left with most of the peel --very convenient, because the ungrated peel will protect your knuckles. Discard the peel, but it is OK if some shreds of peel remain in the grated potatoes.
4. Rinse the zucchini well, pat it dry, and cut it crosswise into thirds. Grate the zucchini skins only (reserve the interiors for another use). Spread the shredded zucchini skin on a clean dish towel or paper towels, and let it drain for 15 minutes.
5. Using a box grater, shred the onion on the large holes until it is finely chopped but not mushy. Drain on a clean dish towel or paper towels for 15 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
7. Combine the shredded potato and zucchini in a large bowl. Stir in the shredded onion along with the parsley, eggs, flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and baking powder.
8. Pour enough oil into a 10-inch oven-proof skillet to cover the bottom, and heat it over medium-high heat until it is very hot but not smoking. Carefully spread half of the potato mixture evenly in the skillet. Cover it evenly with the mushrooms. Cover with the remaining potato mixture. Press down with the back of a metal spatula, and fry just until a crust starts to form on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
9. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the galette is set and very crisp on the bottom, about 40 minutes.
10. Remove the skillet from the oven (careful: the handle will be hot!). If the top is not brown, hold the galette in place with a spatula, and very carefully drain the excess oil into a bowl. Invert a dinner plate over the skillet and holding the two together (wear oven mitts, please), turn the galette over. Pour the drained oil back into the skillet and heat it until it is very hot but not smoking. Slide the galette back into the skillet, unbrowned side down. Fry until a crust forms, about 4 minutes.
11. Carefully drain the oil from the skillet as before, and slide the galette onto a serving plate. Slice into wedges and serve.
Notes: Different mushrooms absorb different amounts of oil, so use more or less oil as needed, maintaining a ratio of 1 part toasted sesame oil to 3 parts olive oil. Before slicing them, remove the stems from shiitake and oyster mushrooms (save them for stock).
Variation: This potato batter makes tasty individual latkes as well, even without the mushroom stuffing: Prepare the batter, following Steps 2 through 7, without heating the oven. Then heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is quite hot but not smoking. Drop the batter into the hot oil and press with the back of a spatula to flatten. Fry until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and fry the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot.