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Last Minute Latkes for Locavores

Rural Intelligence Food
You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy these potato pancakes, using local apples, parsnips, onions, sour cream and potatoes—if you can find them. (I had trouble, but don’t get me started; I’m proof that it’s not always easy to practice what you preach!) The parsnip adds a touch of earthy sweetness to the traditional flavor of the potatoes, and fresh apple sauce is an under-appreciated condiment that always tastes heaven sent. I use thick sour cream by Hudson Valley Fresh that is shockingly rich, but just a touch is all that’s needed. Of course, latkes are best served hot from the skillet by a grandmother who runs back and forth to the table, but they may be kept warm in the oven, then served at once.
—Amy Cotler, author of The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food

Latkes for Locavores
Makes about 24

4-6 apples
fresh lemon juice
sugar, optional
4 medium russet (baking) potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
1 small parsnip, peeled and grated
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper
vegetable oil
sour cream or creme fraiche

1. Quarter the apples. Simmer, with just a splash of water, covered, stirring ocassionally, until they are very soft. Put through a food mill. If you don’t have a mill, peel and core them before you simmer, then puree in a food processor or with a masher. Add lemon juice to taste and sugar, if needed. Set aside.

2. Grate* the potatoes into a colander. Let sit. After they have turned a brownish-pink, about 15 minutes, rinse them thoroughly. Press down in the colander to remove any excess water. Lay potatoes in one layer on a kitchen cloth. Roll and squeeze out any remaining liquid. Repeat if still wet.

3. Combine the potatoes with the onion, eggs, salt and generous grinding of pepper in a medium bowl.

4. Coat the bottom of a large skillet, preferably non-stick, generously with vegetable oil until hot but not smoking. Carefully spoon about 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) of the batter into the pan. If you like, spread each a little thinner with a fork.

5. Cook over medium heat, until crispy brown, turn carefully with a spatula, then brown the other side, about 6 minutes total. Work in batches, adding oil to the pan if needed.

6. Serve immediately or remove to a newspaper on a large baking sheet, held in a 200 degree oven. Accompany with a bowl of sour cream and apple sauce. Or, using two spoons (or a finger and a spoon), top each with a little bit of apple sauce and sour cream.

*Of course you can use a food processor, but when you grate them by hand they’re better. They just are, but watch those knuckles

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 12/15/09 at 04:02 PM • Permalink