Holidays in general are not very easy on the dieting sector, but when you think about it, nothing beats Hanukkah. Basically we have eight days in a row where its traditional to eat fried foods. And so we start the meal with fried carbs, cap it off with deep fried dough, and probably spend weeks dreading the scale.
Tradition is great, and I am all for it, but there is also a mitzvah to take care of yourself, and I think that eating healthy is way up there on the list of ways to take care of yourself. And while I am not suggesting we all boycott every form of fried food this Hanukkah, a great way to stay healthy and eat healthy is to follow one of my most important dieting tricks: combat delicious and tempting food with delicious, but healthy food.
The challenge, for me, as a perpetual dieter as well as a cook, is to come up with a recipe that is within the spirit of Hanukkah, but won’t cause a bad case of “scale fear.” I think, if I do say so myself, that I succeeded amazingly with these spinach latkes. It’s pretty sad the way spinach gets such a bad rap among vegetables. I think it’s delicious, and I let it shine in this recipe.
This recipe comes together in a frying pan, but don’t let that fool you. This latke recipe is super healthy…and yet totally delicious. Make sure to have enough on hand for the non-dieters. They might just love them as much as I do!
Miriam Pascal blogs at Tales of an Overtime Cook.
spray oil, for frying
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb bag frozen spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
additional black pepper, to taste
Prepare sauteed spinach: sautee onions in spray oil on low to medium flame until translucent. Add minced garlic and sautee an additional couple of minutes. Add thawed spinach and stir to combine. Continue to cook over low to medium flame, stirring occasionally. Cook 20-30 minutes, until spinach is heated through and fully cooked. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.
You can make the sauteed spinach in advance, and when you are ready to make the latkes, proceed with the following instructions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine sauteed spinach, eggs, breadcrumbs, oil and salt. Heat a frying pan and spray well with spray oil. Roll some of the batter in your hands to form a ball, then press between your palms to form a (relatively thin) patty. Fry on medium flame for 2-3 minutes per side, or until light brown. I like to taste the first latke to make sure I got the spices right, then fry the rest.
Notes: When spinach fries it turns brown and may look burnt, but it isn't!
Don't flip the latkes too soon, or they will fall apart. Make sure you allow them enough time to get cooked on the bottom before flipping.
I love making latkes, and like most of us, I have my preferred ways of serving the latke. Last year I prepared Mini Dill Latkes with Lemon Creme Fraiche, which I loved for the combination of rich fried potato paired with fresh lemon and dill flavors. I haven’t settled on what to make this year, but this Potato Latke with Smoked Salmon and Soft Boiled Quail Egg is a leading contender, not only for the runny yoke, but also for the use of duck fat.
There are countless latke varieties to choose from, and some top notch Hanukkah compilations this year, so I’ve put together a few of my favorite sites to help as you prepare to put your own spin on the holiday.
The Food Network also has their own Holiday Central for Hanukkah.
Gail Simmons, who you might know from Top Chef, offers her Hanukkah Favorites on Food and Wine including her own mother’s recipe for traditional potato latkes, and this drool-inducing recipe for Sephardi style Doughnuts in Cardamom Syrup.
Here is a real Hanukkah original: Zucchini Latkes with Red Pepper Jelly and Smoked Trout for those of you looking for an adventurous alternative.
What varieties of latkes and other Hanukkah treats will you be serving up this year? We want to hear about your family’s traditions, and your twists on the classics too!
I love Hanukkah, but more than celebrating the holiday with friends and family, I relish the excuse to break out some oil and start frying.
These days, Hanukkah ends up being a fun, though harried, time of year – work parties, friend parties, and of course celebrations with both sides of the family. All those latkes and apple sauce, or latkes and brisket as my uncle likes to serve, can get a bit boring for all eight crazy nights.
So why not try a Hanukkah latke brunch? Get out the bloody mary mix, throw together a nice fruit salad, and serve up some latkes and eggs as a fun alternative to the traditional latke spread.
Here is my recipe for a Latkes Salmon Benedict, inspired by Essex House in New York City.
- 5 yukon gold potatoes, peeled
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying
- One dozen eggs
- Smoked salmon
Put potatoes, onion and garlic cloves through a food processor in batches.
In a large bowl, mix together grated potato and onion along with flour, egg, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Let the mixture sit for around 10 minutes, and then strain some of the excess liquid.
In the meantime, heat a few Tbsp of oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. When oil is almost sizzling, put together latke patties, draining excess liquid once again, in your hand. Fry on each side until golden and crispy.
Dust the hot latkes with just a sprinkling of salt while they are still hot. Let the latkes drain on a cooling rack or on plate with paper towel.
When ready to serve, poach or fry eggs.
On a serving plate arrange latkes topped with smoked salmon and eggs. Add dill for a festive garnish.