Beet Latkes with Chive Goat Cheese
Leah Koenig, author of Modern Jewish Cooking, explains, “During the past decade or so, home cooks have gotten very creative with their Hanukkah latkes. Today it is nearly as common to find the oil-crisped pancakes made from sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, apple or zucchini as from the traditional potato. And it is not unusual to find latkes flavored with curry, cumin, cayenne and other spices. I personally love making beet latkes. The deep-red root vegetable adds glorious color and sweet, earthy flavor to the fried Hanukkah dish. Topped with a mix of goat cheese and sour cream stirred with chives, they are a classy rendition of the holiday favorite.”
For the chive goat cheese:
- 1/4 lb. (115 g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 fl. oz./75 ml) sour cream
- 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) snipped fresh chives
For the latkes:
- 1 large beet, peeled
- 3 medium carrots, peeled
- 1/2 yellow onion, quartered
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./30 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
Snipped fresh chives for serving
To make the chive goat cheese, in a bowl, stir together the goat cheese, sour cream and chives until thoroughly combined. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
To make the latkes, using a food processor fitted with the shredding disk, shred the beet, carrots and onion. Working in batches, wrap the grated vegetables in a dish towel or several layers of paper towels and squeeze as much water as you can out of them. Don’t skimp; really get your squeeze on here.
Place the shredded, squeezed vegetables in a large bowl. Add the garlic, flour, baking powder, egg, salt and pepper and mix with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
In a large pan over medium heat, warm 1/4 inch (6 mm) of vegetable oil until shimmering but not smoking, and line a large rimmed baking sheet with two layers of paper towels. Working in batches of four or five, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan and gently press with a spatula to flatten. Fry, turning once, until crisp on both sides and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes total. Continue with the remaining batter, adding additional oil to the pan if necessary and adjusting the heat if the latkes are browning too quickly or not quickly enough. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the latkes to the paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain.
Serve hot, topped with the goat cheese mixture and a sprinkle of chives. Or, let the latkes cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer. When ready to serve, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and reheat in a 400°F (200°C) oven. Serves 6.
Adapted from Modern Jewish Cooking, by Leah Koenig (Chronicle Books). Copyright © 2015.